I was holding hands with an insanely hot and pretty girl. An insanely hot and pretty catgirl no less. A rather significant portion of my mind was indeed fixated on this fact and distracting me quite a bit but I forged on and kept my focus. For the most part anyway.
I kept stealing glances at Sara every now and then as I lead her to the general goods store. She noticed this of course and her response was to tilt her head to the side cutely with a pleasant smile on her face and go “Hm?” which just caused my inhibitions to lessen even further every single time I saw it. I endured admirably, somehow. I didn’t suddenly lock lips with her, grab her waist, push her up against a wall or any other similar nonsense because I could seriously be arrested by the city guards or something.
I can only hope (and fantasize) about one day being that close with Sara but as of now, I must keep myself in check. You know, because of common decency and all that. So obviously, I’m really ecstatic to have my first friend in this fantasy world to be some sort of demi-human, especially a fan favorite such as a catgirl.
So yeah, the general good store will be our first stop in order to prepare for this dungeon exploration quest that’s been assigned to us. Early on I realized it would be simple to ask for directions from the guild staff as to where the exact location of the nearest general goods store was. I could of course have enhanced my senses yet again using mana but I wouldn’t be too sure as to how I could narrow down what to sense for a place like that.
Hence, I asked one of the well endowed members of the guild reception for directions. I was able to commit everything to memory due to my high intelligence stat which really makes things so much easier for someone like me that had a terrible sense of direction in my original world. Oh, I’m sure Sara knows her way around the city as well but I figured it would be safer to ask the guild staff, they would be more used to explaining and spreading that type of info. And yes, I used it all as an excuse to speak again with the glasses-wearing green haired elf I spoke to before to register as an adventurer.
Despite our rather swift pace, Sara and I took about half an hour to reach the nearest general goods store. The sign at the door had, oddly enough, something that resembled a Police box? Somewhere out there amidst time and space, a certain Doctor is laughing at me. I just know it.
As expected, the store was bigger on the inside, much bigger than the space it occupies on the outside would suggest. Besides weapons and armor it seems that they truly have all bases covered here. There stacks of potions, salves, just about anything you’d need for roughing on the outside, household items and so on. Taking convenience to the utmost extreme. Which in this case is of course a good thing.
There was only one cashier a few meters away from the entrance and there was just a single floor, that seems to stretch for gods only knew how far, it was about 10 meters wide though from what I could tell. Ah, the wonders of spatial magic.
“Um, John…” Sara spoke for the first time since we left the Adventurer’s Guild. “How much longer are you going to hold my hand?” I blink and look at our still interlocked hands, then I look at Sara’s face which is bright red and she has her other hand balled up into a fist and held against her mouth.
I quickly release her hand. “Oh! Sorry about that, I should have released your hand as soon as we found this place huh? Or rather, you could have followed me without having me hold your hand huh?” I am rambling, I realize.
Instead of reacting violently like I half expected, Sara gives me a shy smile. “It’s okay… It was actually kind of nice and warm, holding hands like that…”
That last part was said under her breath and so I acted like I didn’t hear it. So my hearing seems to be superior to the average man’s despite there being no mana enhancement. Good to know.
I quickly explain to Sara that our quest may take up several weeks to months depending on the number of floors and strength of the monsters in the dungeon. Let’s assume it takes at most 3 months I tell her, in the worst case scenario. We’ll pack food and supplies to cover that amount of time to be on the safe side.
So that’s what we did. We went around the general goods store picking out ingredients for food, a magical tent (like from the Harry Potter universe) that was bigger on the inside and fully furnished, extra health and mana potions, toiletries and so on. All in all I spent $14,000 for everything we gathered from the general goods store. Sara insisted we split the bill but I assured her that she could pay me back through working hard in the dungeon and in the future.
After storing all necessary items in the magical tent and then placing the tent in my inventory, Sara and I headed to the smithy I sniffed out that other time. It was night time but it was still open. All that we did there was stock up on bullers for Sara’s revolver, we bought 10 boxes of 100 rounds each. I promised Sara I could conjure her more bullets in case she ran out during the quest.
With that done there was one more thing I had to do. And that was to ensure I kept my home in good condition while I was away on the quest.
One option I could go for is to of course hire a caretaker for my home on a permanent basis. Or, which is what I’m going to try now, is enchant my home in such a way that it is perpetually kept clean and in mint condition. And I had just the kind of magic in mind to do just that.
There was a story I deeply enjoyed before I got bored and stopped reading it, but it was so much fun and I may even go back to it some time: Konjiki no Wordmaster. The main protagonist in that story had the overpowered ability of word magic wherein he could cause a variety of effects through writing words out of mana. For example: I remember he once gathered a bunch of zombies into the air using the word “zombie” and then caused the lot of them to blow up with the word “explosion” I think.
So for my home, I will be doing some word magic of my own but hopefully the effect will last either a long period of time (like say, a few months) or maybe even forever if I’m lucky.
With all that said Sara and I are now at the front door of my home. I point my right index finger at the door and channel mana onto the tip and I begin to write in print using the only alphabet I really know intimately. I spell out and magically carve into the door the following words: Forever Clean and Maintain. I channel all my mana into this and visualize as best as I can the end result.
The words are written legibly onto the doors surface and glow a bright blue and keep getting brighter and brighter by the second. It gets so bright that Sara and I have to cover our eyes and in the next moment the light vanishes like it was never there, the words also appear to have seeped into the door or something. I can sense a great amount of mana flowing through my house now though so I believe it worked.
“Sara.” I hold out my hand to her as I turn to face her directly.”Let’s go on to the dungeon, our preparations are complete with this.”
“Un!” She cuteley responds and it causes me to gush internally though I like to believe I kept my face nice and stoic.
In the request that Sir Willhelm gave us, it includes instructions on how to get to the Dungeon of the First Blade. I know I just said before that it was vaguely deep within the nearby forest but I was just being concise at the time.
Our trek to the dungeon was not uneventful however. Sara and I came across Slimes, Wolves, a few Bears and even the stereotypical group of Bandits living out in the woods.
I didn’t take an active role in any of those fights and just let Sara handle most of the work. Not because I was bullying her or anything of course, but because the highest level we encountered was a level 12 Bandit, which is in fact a humanoid monster spawn and not an actual resident of this world that went rogue. Anyway, i figured I’d be getting diminishing returns or no experience at all so the most action I took was to knockback a monster with the weakest spinning magic arrows I could make.
Despite what even I could see as self-esteem issues from Sara, she handled herself rather well with those monsters. She was quick on the draw and almost always got a headshot with that revolver of hers. Sometimes she’d shoot out bullets enhanced with mana but she did this conservatively so I assumed her mana capacity wasn’t too high, that or she was saving most of it for a higher costing skill or two. Either way, she really did well.
I’d tell her as much and praise her but whenever I did she’d start mumbling and pushing her index fingers together and turn as red as a tomato whenever I did so for the sake of her health, I stopped doing it so frequently.
Oh yes, there apparently isn’t a party system even for me as a Summoned Hero so I’m just letting Sara rake in experience by fighting as much as possible.
And soon enough, we reached the Dungeon of the First Blade. It looked like a man made stone tower that goes like, I dunno, 20 stories give or take? Every level besides the ground level, which just shows an opening with no door, has three windows from what we can see from the front side, only showing a yellow light but no movement or whatever from within.
Right before stepping into the the Dungeon, a blue window with text opens up in front of Sara and I: You are about to enter the Dungeon of the First Blade (Level 160) Enter? Y/N.
Of course, Sara and I clicked on “Y” without hesitation on our part.
My name is Sara Silvermoon. That may sound like I come from a prominent or legendary family or something but no, we were a family of mediocre adventurers. The highest rank anyone from my family ever reached was Silver but most clocked out at Iron if they were lucky.
The reason for that is my bloodline was cursed long ago by a powerful wizard to always have an obscene amount of experience needed to grow in level. The specifics as to what lead to the curse being put upon our bloodline has been lost to history but ever since my bloodline has suffered in a world that is ruled by those of a high level.
Then one day, without warning, a terrible Hunter came around to our little home in the Demi-Human kingdom of Raithril.
He seemed to be cloaked in smoke and shadow itself, wielding a great big scythe that could cut through solid steel. With eyes that glowed a menacing red, dark armor covering every inch of his body, with his face wreathed in darkness.
My older brothers, sisters and parents all fought valiantly but I knew it would be of no use in the end. After all, at the time, the highest leveled among us was our father who was level 32 and the Hunter was level 300.
He never said anything, not a word. He merely growled or snarled in reaction to our petty resistance. I broke down in tears and fell to my knees, revolver slipping from my limp fingers as her hacked and slashed my family to pieces.
When I was the only one left, he stopped attacking and took a neutral stance. He was just, staring at me as if he could see directly into my soul. And then in a blur of smoke and shadow, he was gone.
And I was left in the midst of the bloody remains of my family. I had no one left, they were all I had. So, I gave them all a proper burial crying myself senseless all the while. I cleaned myself up, emptied out all our stashes of cash and other essentials around the house and then I booked myself a ticket to transport myself to somewhere far away. Somewhere a demi-human like me can have a fresh start and a land known for breeding the most legendary Heroes. A place of great strength. A place where I could truly grow and prosper.
The human kingdom of Estriel is where I chose to be transported to. That was 5 years ago. I guess you’re probably expecting me to want to have cold hard revenge against that Hunter right? Or to have done something sensible like report him to the Adventurer’s Guild or something right? Well, I’m leaning more towards the revenge notion.
I felt two things the most when I was spared after my family was slaughtered: a great sense of powerlessness and a desire to utterly crush the Hunter with my own strength. The problem was the same as it always has been. I’m incredibly weak. So weak it’s not even worth laughing about. Considering my age that is.
And because of my rather low level given my apparent age, hardly anyone would want to team up with me. Which is why I was lucky to have been invited to team up with that trio of Iron ranked adventurer’s to go on a quest to hunt a rare monster. Even though I could tell all they wanted to do was strip me down and take me several times after hunting down the monster. My plan was to run away after getting some experience fighting alongside them against much higher leveled monsters, in comparison to my level anyway.
I ended up causing them to lose sight of the rare monster because when I saw its appearance it seemed so much like the Hunter that slaughtered my family that I just froze and it got away. It was a level 20 Spectre and had the appearance of a hooded figure with a body of actual smoke and shadow. It sensed danger when faced against the trio and so it fled the battle however. I was invited to the team because of my keen sense of smell as a demi-human and the Spectre has a rather unique scent. I had never seen one before in my life however and so I was shocked.
Anyway, as I was being beaten within an inch of my life I started to cry not just because of the pain but because I couldn’t help but feel sorry for myself since I was powerless to save myself and that I’d never get to avenge the deaths of my family…
And just when I had accepted my death for the second time ever, I was saved in a brilliant flash of blue.
That’s when I met him, my savior and new partner. John Sparks...
“Sara, let’s rush through as many floors as it takes before reaching the first safe zone. Then we’ll set up camp.” I must as much confidence as I can and declare this to my catgirl companion.
Her eyes seem to burn with ambition when she responds to me. “Roger that, John!”
The first 9 floors passed by in a blur for me. The first five floors only contained Slimes, the lowest level being one and the highest being 10. The next four floors only contained Goblins, and the highest level was 20. The max level of monsters seems to increase by an increment of 10 every five floors. Considering the relatively low level of monsters for the first ten floors, I’m guessing only rather complacent and/or weak people have tried their luck so far? Or perhaps there’s something surprising on the 10th floor or something? I can only guess for now.
The Slimes on the first five floors varied in color without rhyme nor reason from what I could tell but did grow in size with respect to their level, going as far as 3 meters in height. The Goblins we encountered all the way to the 9th floor were just the run of the mill ones, with Goblin as the classification and only going as tall as 3 feet in height. They wore no armor just ragged looking clothes, and were armed with only clubs and rusted blades here and there.
Anyway, we’re at the tail end of the 9th floor now. I’ve been getting a good workout so far by using my Magic Clad spell and using my katana to kill monsters. I haven’t used my Spinning Magic Arrow spell at all since entering the dungeon. To conserve on mana and because the monsters have been that easy to deal with in a melee fight so far. There is a fixed amount taken from my mana to maintain Magic Clad but it is not much and I am left with more than enough mana to use in a pinch should it be necessary.
By the way, all monsters dissolve into ambient mana from what I can tell. Not really into nothingness as it would look to the untrained eye, but with a good sense for feeling mana one can tell that that’s what happens when they dissolve. They turn into ambient mana.
I think on this fact as I kill another Goblin by beheading it with my Magic Clad katana. A few feet away Sara fires off in quick succession all rounds in the chamber of her revolver and easily takes out Goblins in one hit each. All head shots.
With that no more Goblins seem to be spawning on this floor for now, such was the speed at which we’ve been killing them.
“Well done, Sara.” I walk closer to her and begin to pat her head affectionately. I only do so because it’s one of my first instincts to do this in order to praise her for a job splendidly done, besides mere words anyhow and without being too familiar.
“Mmmmm!” Sara merely closes her eyes and leans into my hand in response to my actions, as with all the other times I’ve been doing this on every floor so far she seems to really enjoy herself so I see no reason to stop this particularly new habit of mine.
“Anyway, John,” Sara interrupts me all of a sudden. “I think the next area is the safe zone, they tend to spawn every ten floors in dungeons as you may already know.”
I didn’t know, actually. But it was really nice of her to point that out that tidbit of information.
“Alright, keep your wits about you though, Sara. This dungeon is an absurdly high level so we must watch out for anything out of the ordinary.”
Sara merely hums in agreement and nods at me with a determined look on her face before we set off for the stairs at the end of this floor.
Oh yeah, so far the dungeon rooms have been rather plain in appearance and uniform in design. That is to say, we’ve only been fighting in plain carved stone rooms, smooth surfaces all around. No embellishments whatsoever. Just smoothed out rock. Filled with monsters of whatever type is assigned to the level.
To be honest, I may not sound like it but I am having loads of fun. Sure, the fights so far have been well in my favor and as a result have been nothing but crubstomps but, the novelty of being in a fantasy game-like world hasn’t been lost on me just yet. Nor will it any time soon, I’m seriously having a great time over here!
So we make ip up the stairs onto the next level which s of course the 10th floor, and there seems to be nothing here at the moment. The room is completely empty when we arrive.
And it was at that moment we both felt it.
As an Arcane Master I was really adept at sensing the flow of mana whether it was internally or externally so when this rumbling sort of manifestation of mana started to accumulate in the center of the room, I felt as if a raging mana storm had started a mere few feet from us.
All classes used mana in some way since that’s what powered skills, and even though she was a Gunner, Sara could also feel the intense wave of power growing by the minute, giving off a pressure that caused our hairs to stand on end.
With a large boom and a bright flash of blue light indicative of a lot of mana being used, a monster appeared.
It was a Goblin.
Not like any Goblin we’ve come across so far though since it was 5 meters in height.
Decked out in pristine platinum armor. Armed with a large broadsword and shield.
Sara and I stared at the words above its head in wonder for what seemed like several minutes but was in reality a few moment only.
Okay. Bright side? Like most monsters it doesn’t have an actual name and just have its type and class where a name for a person would be. So it’s not some sort of named boss or elite. On the other hand? It’s fucking level 100. This dungeon is seriously broken! It took the last max level and multiplied it by five! I come to a grim realization...this is why only 10 floors have been discovered so far huh? Everybody else was either wiped out by this Goblin Paladin or they retreated back to the city.
Maybe it’s not so bad though? I’m level 28 now, and my stats are way overpowered compared to the regular person in this world. Plus I have all my points saved up for now, I can spend them as I see fit as this soon to start fight goes on. Also, I’m not alone. Sara is with me, and although she’s only level 15 (she’s not leveling up at all despite the dozens of monsters we’ve killed, even for a resident of Edea that’s weird right?) she’s great with that gun of hers so -
That’s when the Goblin Paladin rushes in smashes his shield into Sara. She gots blown off her feet and into the well on my right. Bruises and scratches cover her body and her clothes are torn in various places as a result. She’s lying on the ground. Unconscious of course. Her breathing is shallow, I can tell. The Goblin Paladin is smirking. Judging by his level he could have smashed her into paste. He held back. A lot.
Going by what I know of Goblins from the Goblin Slayer manga he’s probably saving her for a good fuck after he kills me. First off, how the hell would his gigantic cock fit inside her?! He’s five meters tall! She’d break apart for sure! Secondly, I’m not going to die just like that! I’m the freaking Summoned Hero here! And thirdly, NO WAY IN HELL AM I GONNA LET SOME DAMN MONSTER FUCK MY CATGIRL. THAT’S RIGHT. I’M STAKING MY CLAIM.
Thinking fast I enhance my body with mana, raising all my stats by 100 percent!
Next I dash away from the Goblin Paladin all the way to the other end of the room and ponder.
What’s the best way to kill this thing? And fast?
Oh damn, here he comes with an overhead slash. I quickly draw my katana, cast Magic Clad and block his attack with all my strength.
I buckle under the weight and strength of his slash, barely holding it off with my arms aching like hell and seeming to creak under all this pressure.
And all the while the Goblin Paladin. Is. Smirking. At. Me.
This is just a fucking game to him… He’s not even trying to kill me, not yet anyway. He doesn’t see me as a threat despite the power I’m giving off. Which means even with all my stats doubled as it is, he’s leagues above me in pure power.
Okay, I have to stay calm. And focused. He’s underestimating me. That’s good. I can use that. I’ll need two things to overpower this guy: magical might, and strength. I have 270 points saved up. I put 100 into strength, 100 into intelligence and 70 into wisdom using them all up. Immediately I feel a surge of power well up within my whole body and in my magic core.
Mana was already shrouding me like an aura from the body enhancement and with the added points I am able to focus more power into it, the aura bursts around me like a raging flame. I putting all my mana into this! Body enhancement times 5!
With a roar of defiance I push up against the Goblin Paladin’s blade. The Magic Clad katana of mine cuts through the Goblin Paladin’s blade slowly but surely.
The monster is taken by surprise and seeks to pull his sword back but it’s too late. I leap with all my strength and cut through his blade! My jump doesn't end there as I head for his exposed face (no helmet, lucky right?). I pull my katana back and muster all the mana enhancing my body into the blade of my katana and shout out with all my heart!
I make point blank contact with his face using my katana. The energy explodes with a loud boom, releasing a crescent moon wave that is several meters long. The Goblin Paladin’s head stood no chance.
As I fall to the ground I have enough sense to down a few mana potions and one health potion (that attack I blocked caused some serious damage to my health) and seconds before I hit the ground I am able to flip myself upright and land with a bit of a roll. Swinging my katana left and right and sheathing it in one smooth motion I then look back to the now headless Goblin Paladin’s dissolving corpse.
I may have pulled a win out of nowhere with some use of saved up points and some serious shounen power but make no mistake. I almost died today. And that thought kind of terrifies me.
Once the Goblin Paladin’s body dissolved back into ambient mana it left behind a rather sizable monster core and one other thing: his 2 meter shield. I put both into my inventory. The shield can be melted down and made into armor or something later on. I’m probably going to need it if I’m going to survive in this dungeon.
I set up the magical tent and gingerly carry Sara inside. I lay her down on one of the beds and take out a health potion.
She’s out of it so I end up having to feed her the potion mouth to mouth. After about three doses of that she’s looking much better and her breathing has evened out.
I use my restored mana to fix up her clothes and then Reinforce them as best as I can. Berating myself for not doing so sooner, like before we even left the city gate.
Once Sara wakes up I think it’s time we have a little chat. About the fact she’s cursed, I didn’t sense it until having fixed her clothes with mana since I wasn’t actively encasing her in my mana until then so I had no idea she was cursed until now.
That’s probably why she hasn’t leveled up at all despite all the fighting she’s been doing. Anyway, I’m mentally exhausted and need to rest myself.
I can safely assume that Goblin Paladin was some sort of guardian of this safe zone and with him defeated no other monsters shall spawn in this area. So, I’m going to sleep now. I’m too tired to go off to another room in this tent so I'll just stay in this king sized bed with Sara. She probably won’t mind…