Chapter 3 : Path of Escape
“Damn it, there is nothing…”
Three days after killing the bear. Hajime has been searching for an escape to the upper levels. He had already searched about 80% of the level. After eating the bear, his status had risen. There were no longer any wonders here, he had vastly explored the area with a quick pace. However, nothing was found even though he searched so much.
No, saying he didn’t find anything was misleading. Hajime had found stairs two day ago; that led downwards into the higher number floor. A floor should always have a stair that led up towards the surface but this one did not have one it seemed.
Why not make a road to the upper level? This method was ignored after already trying it. Within a certain range, his transmutation did not work on the walls. While on the floor he could freely transmute, the very top and bottom of the floor had some kind of protection. This “Orcus Dungeon” was created during ancient times and it was full of mysteries. When he encountered anything new, it wasn’t that unexpected.
That is why he was looking for a way up, but he had to make a decision if he did not find it. To venture further down this Dungeon or not.
“…Dead end? At this point I searched all the branchings. I wonder what happened.”
Hajime decided to stop looking for a way up and breathed out a deep sigh at that decision. He proceeded to advance towards the room that contained the stairs leading deeper into the Dungeon.
The stairs looked like it was sloppily made. It would have been more correct to call it an uneven slope, rather than stairs. He looked ahead to the stairs and noticed that it exudes a creepy atmosphere; with its complete darkness where no Green Light Stone was present. Like a mouth of a huge monster swallowing him up. Hajime felt that once he went in, there was no coming out.
“Ha! Bring it on! Anything getting in my way, I’ll kill and devour.”
While thinking about such an idea, Hajime laughed through his nose and smiled. He stepped towards the darkness with no hesitation.
The level was very dark. Although that was expected for an underground dungeon, but all the previous levels he visited had Green Light Stones in them. It wasn’t like he was devoid of all vision. This level really did not have any light source. Hajime choose to rest for a bit to allow his eyes to get used to the darkness. He was expecting to see a little more, but there was no difference. He decided to take out his Green Stone lamp from his improvised back, that was connected to a wire made of out of the bears fur.
It was suicidal to have a light in this darkness if a monster was attracted to it. However, he couldn’t continue if he couldn’t see. Hajime did not want to occupy his only hand to hold this lamp, so he fastened it to his left elbow.
He had a feeling that something was shining in the depths of the passage when he walked for a while. That got him to raise his caution to the max. Advancing while hiding as much as possible, he left an unpleasant sign on his left side. He pointed the lamp at that direction. A gray liard approximately 2m in length was sticking on the wall, glaring at Hajime with golden eyes.
The golden eyes were charged with light. In that moment,
Hajime left arm started to give of a strange sound and noticed it was getting petrified. Instantly the lamp that was fastened to his arm was soon petrified completely, and shattered into a million pieces. With the light source lost, darkness ruled the area again. The petrification on his left side was already reaching his shoulder.
Hajime clicked his tongue while he took out some sacred water from his chest holster; which was made from demon fur and wire. As expected, the petrification halted and eventually his left arm returned to normal.
It sure had done it! He cursed inwardly, and took out a flash grenade from his waist pouch. Hajime threw it towards the gold eyed lizard. At the same time, gold eyes started to simmer again in the darkness. Hajime left the area by using “Flicker”, and did not see the gaze. The rock that was behind where Hajime used to be, changed color. Soon the rock crumbled as it weathered. Wicked Eyes of Petrification, was what Hajime linked with the golden eyes. This lizard was like a basilisk often seen in a RPG.
Hajime closed his eyes while he took out Donner and brandished it.
Bang! The surrounding was bathed in intense light as the flash grenade went off.
For an entity that matured in the darkness, this was the first time it had experienced that much light, and it confused it. The figure of that confused basilisk emerged from the darkness. Hajime fired without a thought. He aimed well and soon the bullet found its target in the basilisk’s skull. Brain matter splashed against the wall as the head was blown to pieces. The bullet continued through the head into the wall, and burning rocks could be heard. Since electromagnetic force was used to accelerate the bullet, the places it hit emit a high temperature. It was so intense a heat that, right now, only the Tauru ore could handle it.
Hajime approached the basilisk while he stayed vigilant to his surroundings. Promptly he cleaved the meat off of the corpse and left the area. He did not feel safe eating in an area with so little visibility. Hajime decided to push forward and continue his search for the time being.
He had searched for many hours but he could not find the stairs. A lot of ores were collected and demons killed during this time. Since it was so inconvenient to carry all this, he made a base for himself.
When he found a suitable place, he used his transmutation to create the space. He was able to make his base without any problems. Hajime continued transmuting until he had a 6 tatami sized room. Without forgetting, he placed a pale basketball sized ore in the hollow recess of the wall. This ore was God’s Crystal. Underneath the ore was placed a contained to catch the dripping water.
Hajime had started to call the crystal “Potion Stone” and the sacred water as “Potion.” It really was like the games equivalent, but its effects were much stronger.
“Well, let’s have a meal.”
Hajime retrieved the meat out of his backpack. He used his lightning powers to cook them. Today’s menu was the basilisk meat, an owl that could fire its feathers like a shotgun, and a six legged cat. No seasoning.
After a moment of eating, pain started to well in his body. The body was being strengthened. It seemed that these monsters were stronger than the bear. It was certainly true that the environment and darkness made it troublesome. Hajime did not really feel that since Donner could blow any of them away.
Drinking the “Potion”, he continued to eat while ignoring the pain. His phantom limb pain had returned and it was getting stronger.
“Chomp, Fuu–. Gochisousama. Now then, Status…”
He took out his Status Plate as he said that. Hajime’s current state was…
17 Years Old
Transmutation Artist (Synergist)
His stats had risen just like expected. He also had acquired three new skills. That was when he noticed that he could see the surrounding more clearly. This seem to be attributed to “Night Vision.” The dungeon had a gloomy disposition, and on this level it was an advantage. The rest were passive skills. Regrettably, the skill he got from basilisk was “Resistasnce” and not the actual “Petrification” skill. The Wicked Eyes of Petrification! He was disappointed he missed out on such a cool skill.
Hajime started to transmute in order to replenish his consumables. Just to make one bullet, he needed a lot of concentration. The process needed ultimate precision. It needed to fit perfectly into Donner’s firing ring. How much propellent needed was carefully compressed and measured. One single bullet would take 30 minutes to make, and he thought he was pretty good at the process already. He admired himself for being able to display such tremendous power in his time of life and death.
His power was frightening but it needed a lot of time and effort to use. He wasn’t dispirited because he could practice his transmutation while making it. Thanks to all this bullet-making, he was able to remove impurities and separate minerals easily; fusion of minerals were easier too. The only comparison to Hajime’s transmutation skill was the head crafter in the Kingdom.
Hajime continued his transmuting in silence. He had still not advanced down a level. There was no idea where this abyss would lead to. When the transmuting was done, he planned to continue with his search. Returning home as soon as possible was his mission. Hajime made an expression as he declared that mission to himself. In that dark abyss with the pale light from the “Potion Stone”, a resolute face could be seen.
Except for the times he needed to replenish his supplies at base; Hajime continued his exploration. It was not known when he rested as he searched through the huge labyrinth. The darkness no longer mattered with his “Night Vision”, and he was able to sense any being in a 10 m around him because of the “Perception” skill. With these skills, he was able to speed up his search.
Finally, he had found the stairs. He took the stairs down without any hesitation.
On this level, the ground seemed to be some kind of sticky quagmire. It was extremely hard to move his stuck feet. Frowning, he created platforms to walk on with his “Air Walk” and continued his search.
Hajime advanced while checking the surrounding minerals with his “Mineral Perception” skill. He found one interesting mineral during his investigation.
[Quick note, you can see that he does not have this skill listed in his status. The actual skill name in kanji does not show up in the page either. So, this means one of three things. The author forgot to include the skill or its a collaboration of “Perception” and “Mineral Enquiry”. The last possibility is that he misspelled the skill.]
Black shiny ore. When melted it becomes tar-like. Melting point at 50°C. In its tar form, ignition point at 100°C. Heat from ignition can reach 3000°C. Burning time is dependent on amount of tar.
Hajime drew a stiff smile and rose his foot up slowly. He stepped on the tar-like liquid on the floor a few times, and it dripped from his boots. This tar-like liquid covered this whole level floor and its what made it seem like a quagmire.
“I-I can’t use my gun…”
Although he didn’t believe his gun could produce 100°C in heat, he did not want to chance the chain ignition of 3000°C on this whole level. Even with the “Potion”, he wasn’t sure he would survive.
“I can’t use my railgun or “Lightning Clad”.”
Donner was a powerful weapon. Even without the electromagnetic force, it produced enough power from the Combustion ore. At least when considering normal demons. For example, against Traum Soldiers it would be enough for this weakened Donner to deal with. It may even deal some damage to a Behemoth. Demons in this abyss are a total different story. The monsters in the higher number floor were just animals. Can he really defeat the demons on this floor with only his handicapped Donner?
When that uneasy thought went through his mind, the corner of his lips angled up.
“That’s fine, it doesn’t change what I need to do. Just kill and eat.”
Hajime continued his exploration after sealing his “railgun” and “Lightning Clad”.
A three-way intersection came into view after traveling for a bit. He stepped towards the left passage to check the nearby walls.
At that moment,
A shark-like demon jumped out from the tar; displaying its huge mouth lined with sharp teeth. It closed the gaping jaw at Hajime’s head. Promptly, Hajime bent over and dodged the jaws, but it left him shuddering.
(“Perception” didn’t pick it up!)
Ever since he got the skill, Hajime had been constantly been using it. The skill should be able to pick up any monster within 10m of him. However, he was unable to sense that shark at all.
With a kerplunk the shark had returned into the tar, and Hajime could not sense it again.
(Shit! I really can’t sense him!)
Hajime grinded his teeth at this incomprehensible state of affairs. He stopped to quickly use his “Air Walk” skill.
As if aiming for that timing, the shark jumped out again.
“Don’t underestimate me!”
Hajime fired at the shark that was midair when he jumped and somersaulted. Air is torn apart as the bullet was shot from Donner, but it wasn’t enough to eat through the enemy. The shot was exquisitely time and hit the shark in the back.
“Crap! Is this how its going to be?”
The bullet was like rubber to the shark, and it only dented the scales as it was repelled. Its scales seemed to be able to mitigate physical impacts.
Using the momentum it had, it jumped into the tar. The shark inverted itself marvelously and aimed at the area Hajime would land after his somersault. Hajime was able to dodge somehow by twisting his body, but the shark got a small part of his flank. With a shock, Hajime tell into the tar. He quickly stood up and jumped into the air; with his whole body dyed black by the tar. The shark emerged from below Hajime’s previous spot and smashed its jaws together.
Hajime developed a cold sweat as he was jumping through the air with “Air Walk”. Even if he was being cornered, his face was still smiling.
“Bring it on!”
He never stopped moving as he used “Air Walk”; he was looking for a chance to attack. Showing the concentration that was forged by training his transmutation. As his concentration rose, he tuned out all other unnecessary thoughts and surroundings. Even if “Perception” couldn’t sense it, that was no problem. Originally he did not even have that skill. The shark will definitely show up when it attacks.
Hajime continued jumping around while concentrating. Abruptly one of his steps broke his balance. The shark did not overlook this chance, and pounced from behind in Hajime’s blind spot.
Immediately, Hajime rebuilt his broken balance. With the shark perched up in the air as it attacked. Hajime took out Donner with his right hand.
Blood splashed to the floor as the shark’s flank was torn and falls on the tar. The shark struggled as it splashed in the tar.
Hajime had purposely shown a weakness to lure the shark in, so he could time and place his shot. He had not shot Donner regularly; he had infused the magic “Air Claws” into the bullet. The skill he got from the bear.
Approaching the downed shark, Hajime brandished Donner towards its head. With “Air Claws” he bisected the shark’s head. Although he couldn’t produce three claws like the bear, but its sharpness far surpasses any famous swords of this world. This magic was very useful if they got in proximity.
“So, lets check why I can’t sense it.”
Hajime licked his lips as he said that.
After carving the shark of its meat and securing it, he continued his exploration till he found stairs.
* * *
- 6 Tatami sized = 2.73m x 3.64m
- Sizes of rooms in Japan are often measured in the number of tatami (Straw mats) it can hold. So when you mention a 6 tatami sized room, the room could fit that many on the floor. Tatami sizes vary between different regions of Japan, but Nagoya’s standard is about 1.653 square feet.
- Itadakimasu = Thanks for the meal (At start of meal).
- Gochisousama = Thanks for the meal (After meal).