The room was suddenly thrown into a deep silence before the king stood up.
“A maker of the dens of monsters! Arrest him!” the king shouted.
“HERE!” the court mage shouted startling everyone.
“What is it?” the king asked.
“The class of the boy, it is written above his artifact, Dungeon Maker, also titled, ‘the trapper of monster kind,’ as well as, ‘maker of the monster killing labyrinth.’ This is a rare hero class that has a very low chance to appear and in its early stages is rather weak, and resource consumption is large, but in larger stages it can tip the scale of the war from his efforts in hunting huge numbers of monsters while aiding the businesses of the region he passes through,” the mage said.
“So he does the opposite to dungeon lords?” the king asked.
“His dungeons are very different. Dungeon lords settle in one location such as a cave and become a crystal and hive mind for its monsters and spawning new monsters. His dungeons do the opposite and attract nearby monsters, depending how it is built within his book and how it is set up. The traps are made to keep them inside and allow us humans to pass through and kill them, if we were to put it bluntly, the monsters are the invaders and we are the monster minions in the dungeon so traps don’t activate for us,” the court mage said.
“So, I'm a money drain at the start… just great,” I said with a sigh.
“Not really, you will just need to go train in crafting skills for a time, but that is even heavier lifting than what the other heroes will face. You also have short sword training and magic training to learn,” the court mage said making me sneer.
“Since he isn't a dungeon lord that is fine, prepare the trainers for all the heroes by tomorrow. Escort them to their rooms, if any of them still want to look around, assign a maid to guide them,” the king said and stood before leaving as the knights saluted.
I watched him leave and looked at the three objects in my hand.
“Hey old wizard guy, what do I do with these?” I asked the court mage.
“My name is Havorine Cloak, the Court Wizard of our Heavenlight Empire, not old wizard guy,” he said, but aside from a bit of irritation he didn't show signs of rage.
“Yeah, still is there a way to put these away or something?” I asked.
“Normally heroes only summon their artifacts the first time and stay with them due to the summoning time being lengthy. Normally we make some equipment that can hold each artifact. In your case, by tomorrow you will be given a sheath and a tome chain. The pen can simply be stored in your pocket due to its size,” Havorine said.
I looked at the pen, it was a metal tip quill with a white body behind the metal point. It looked like an exquisitely crafted pen that would normally need an ink well, but not a quill that is normally the metal tip and a feather tail tip and a feather behind it.
Of the three artifacts in my hand, the pen gave off the most energy, second was the book then the short sword.
“Since I will get something to hold them, then it's fine, though can you take me to the library, I want to look up the runic language. I have the skill but it's still Level 1.” I ask.
The face of the old wizard frowned, and he forced a wry smile.
“The runic language is a rather complex thing, it's known as the Language of the Dungeons, and we humans only know a small number of its words and uses. Not to mention, no one knows how to put them into practice,” he replied.
“But do you have a book with the ones that are known?” I asked.
“Yes, there is one within the library, since it is a single book I will have the librarian find it tonight, so that you can study it tomorrow after your training,” Havorine said and I nodded. “Alright, please guide our heroes to their rooms.”
At Havorine’s order, the knights gestured to follow them to the lower floors where there were more rooms. One by one, we were put into different rooms and when I got mine I wasn't shocked at what I saw. The room was simple, about 10x12 meters with three windows with stained glass, giving it a rather interesting glow inside.
There was a bed on the left side near the middle of the wall, it was rather big probably a queen sized bed with some nice covers. A wardrobe was on the other side of the room and there were some rugs and random stuff decorating the room.
I walked to the bed and dropped my artifacts on the bed and looked around.
Walking to the wardrobe I opened it and found it empty.
“Probably will get clothes tomorrow with maids invading my room and taking all the measurement like crazy,” I said to myself.
I had seen far too many anime to not know the cliche pathway of everything.
I could guess that either the top fighters would break the group of heroes up into a few parties or each hero would go their own way.
I returned to my bed, picking up the book and opening it.
The first page was somewhat blank. It had one large slightly darker square on the upper half, and on the bottom was a table with seven boxes. Remembering that dungeon archives skill I was at, it showed three pages for layouts with five boxes for corridors and two rooms.
After the third page was a single page with the words Runic Dictionary at the top.
There were 11 words in total.
Fire, water, air, earth, light, dark, ice, lightning, ball, spike, and enchant.
I looked at the words and wondered what they were for.
A moment later I looked at the pen on my bed. Picking it up, it started to lightly glow at the tip as the runes in the book also began glowing.
“I see, the pen is made to write these runes,” I muttered.
Since it was dangerous, I did the safest one and looked for a surface to write on when I realized, “This is magic, screw surfaces!”
I held the pen up, pushing down with the intent to write. I felt an energy from my body flow into the pen, followed by a resistance at the tip.
Slowly, I began to write the runes for ‘Light’ and ‘Ball.’
When the first rune was done, I wrote the second next to it. It took ten minutes to write both runes, and at the end of it all, they crumbled into dust.
“Fuck! Piece of shit! This is harder than I thought,” I cursed and looked at my stats and saw it took 50 mana to make both runes.
There was probably something else behind the failure, let's see, normally knowing the principles of an element could always make it stronger and easier to cast. So in this case, light is a luminous energy source made of seven or different colors mixed together as well as many different kinds of light waves invisible to the human eye.
Ball, so simply a sphere, round all around.
As I thought, I began to write and soon the two runes were drawn. When finished they vibrated, before they were swallowed into a vortex. From it, a ball as big as my fist made of pure light emerged.
As I put the pen down, I noticed that the ball followed the movement.
I rotated my hand, and it moved to intersect with the line of the pen. I then flicked it to the left, and it began rotating around me.
With the thought of it going away the ball vanished.
“This is costly but convenient magic, the ball is clearly brighter than those in the hallway. This is getting interesting.” I smiled as I saw it.
Still looking at the mana in my stats, I had lost 15 extra mana for executing successful the spell.
“So 25 for each rune, plus the energy needed for the spell. It seems inconvenient, but if the runes could be left on paper to activate I can make charms and talismans. Might even make a profit off selling them,” I muttered while chuckling.
It would require experimentation because I doubted talismans were so simple to make. I would probably need to learn to delay the activation and all that.
Putting all that at the back of my mind, I grabbed the sword and examine it.
I noticed an interesting feature as there were runes on the hilt.
I didn't know to activate them since, up until then, the pen had forcefully pulled my mana out so I couldn’t test if these runes have any real effect.
After looking it over, I suddenly began to feel sleepy.
I frowned at this and looked around, not once had I trusted those in this place.
“Let's see, unsummon... put away... store. Oh?” I muttered as the three artifacts turned to light and returned to my body.
I stood up and walked to the door and tried to open but found it was locked.
I shook my head and looked around spotting several vents that actually looked like air conditioning vents, but I knew otherwise.
I went to the one closest to the door, and bent over to hear.
“Are you sure we should do this? The king might get angry?” a man said.
“Shut up, the king doesn't need to know anything, also he disrespected everyone so if we don't show him the error of his ways, it will tarnish our reputation,” another said.
From the sound of the footsteps, there weren't any more than three and one seemed to be a higher ranking knight.
“I think the sleeping gas should have taken effect by now, come on,” the leader said.
Seeing as they were going to enter, I got behind the right door, the door being a double one but since my dominant side is right, I hid on the left side since the punch would be stronger.
As they opened the door, they covered me from view.
“Where is he?” one of the men asked as the three slowly walked in.
As the final one passed the door, I closed it and ran to the last one giving him the strongest chop to the unprotected neck. The space wasn't more than an inch, but my hand hit full on making him drop like a sack of potatoes.
The door closing and the man collapsing alerted the other two, but I was already mid punch to the other guy, and the punch was a hook. The helmets weren't complex, it covered the top of the head down near the bottom on the sides, but didn't cover the chin or neck, though the neck had chainmail protecting it.
My fist connected with his chin, sending him reeling back before I gave him a punch on the waist in another space left open by the armor. All in all, he fell down dazed and immobile.
Finally, the leader reacted and rushed me throwing a right punch. He seemed to be at least in some control since he didn't pull his sword.
Still I faced him and with my right hand I caught his wrist while I kept turning and pulling him along. When I had done a 180 degree turn, I leveraged him on my back while grabbing him on the shoulder before flipping him and jumping, letting my weight crush him for additional damage.
Boxing and judo were rather useful combat styles especially in a medieval world like this.
As the three were sprawling on the ground I stretched my arms and legs causing the sound of cracks to sound out from my body.
“Damn, much stronger than normal, at least by a third,” I said nonchalantly and looked at the worms at my feet.
At that time, a group of guards entered my room.
“What is the meaning of this?!” he shouted and glared at me.
“What are you staring at me for? Don't you know this is my room and these worthless piles of shit invaded it. I was defending myself, these idiots even used sleeping gas to try and make me weaker so they could teach me a lesson. You better keep your mutts on a leash, or next time it won't end with just a few broken bones or a single hit to knock them out,” I said bluntly and began to summon my artifacts.
The leading guard was bright red, but he ordered his men to remove the others and left.
I went over and found the key next to the door, it was hanging on a hook, so I locked the door and walked to my bed as my three artifacts appeared in front of me.
I took the book and pen and just kept playing with the least dangerous combos to figure them out.
As night fell, a maid called us for dinner and I went to eat while ignoring everyone.
It failed unfortunately, as a girl that looked around 10 walked up to me. She was a Lolita with green hair tied in two drill ponytails. She looked rather arrogant, but as she walked up it turned into innocent curiosity.
“Hey, hero guy? Why are you so quiet unlike the blondie?” she asked bluntly.
“Marian? Don't speak so disrespectful about the hero!” the king said from the end of the table where the queen, elder princess, crowned prince, and two other princes were sitting. The queen was a beautiful middle-aged woman though she didn’t look a day over thirty. Yet, she had a mature aura around her, offset by her dark purple hair. As for the elder princess, she was beautiful with fiery red hair and ruby eyes. She had similar drill twirled hair going down to her waist, sadly she showed an innocent smile, but had the aura of a viper and was doing far too well with the narcissist hero.
The two looked like a lovely couple, but any man with common modern day sense would feel like vomiting to this love act which is how all the summoned males felt while the women were mostly indifferent.
Now the princes, first the youngest prince, he was the twin of the current girl next to me, and had similar green hair, but timid unlike his sisters. The second eldest had sharp features and wore glasses in front of his purple eyes, inherited from his mother. He had the same hair too.. Finally, the crowned prince was a decent fellow.
It was a surprise to see a crowned prince that wasn't conceited due to his position. He had pure black hair and eyes, and a pale skin tone with a small golden crown on his head about a third of the size of his father’s. Unlike the king though, he didn’t shown any negative qualities and had been rather impartial about everything.
“Hmpf, why should I respect a no good lady killer like him,” Marian, the youngest princess, said.
I almost spat out what I was eating when I heard that. Forcing my food down I started laughing readily and turned to her before patting her head.
“You’re really smart for someone so young,” I said with a smile.
She gave me a toothy grin as she pulled up a chair next to me.
“Marian! Get back to your seat here this instant!” the king said.
“Hmpf! What’s so fun being over there, all I hear is sis trying to brainwash that blondie. So, hero guy, what’s your name and class? What can you do? How strong are you? Did you know you look hotter than blondie?” she asked rapid-fire questions.
“I'm called Ace Cross, I'm a dungeon maker, I can beat up the guards in this castle like I did to the three idiots that came to my room a few hours ago, and yes I know I am hotter than him,” I said in one go.
I took a glass of grape juice and poured a bit for her then grabbed a part of a huge boar near my seat.
“Marian sweetie, please come back to your seat, you’re making your father look like a joke and disrupting the heroes dinner.” The queen spoke in a crystal clear voice that felt nice to hear.
Marian, unlike with the king, just pouted and nodded before returning to her seat.
I looked over with a curious look at the two royals at the end of the table.
“From her actions, the one with the pants in the pair is the queen, I wonder if this nation is a queendom instead?” I thought, but then my eyes turned to the crowned prince with his dashing almost frail good looks.
Looking at the clothing, I noticed how he was wearing more than a normal amount of clothes for the time of year. Looking even closer, it was possible to see a bit of sweat on his head.
“It’s totally a princess, good disguise, but with enough brains people can see through it,” I thought.
I smiled at all the political bullshit going on at the table and finished my current plate. Feeling no more desire to remain there, I simply got up.
Marian reacted as she saw me stand as did the others.
“Ace! Where are you going?” Marian asked.
“Sleep what else?” I replied.
“Mr. Ace, please remain until after everyone eats, because of the number of people summoned this time we need to decide how you will split up,” the queen said making a suggestion. but the feeling it gave me said that I sit, or I would regret it.
“If Your Highness requests me, then I shall remain a while longer,” I said, but looked out the corner of my eye at the shadows that had gained eyes but now returned to normal.
This world wasn’t as simple as it seemed.
Sitting down, my senses sharpened after what had happened, the king didn’t look happy about it, but I couldn’t care less.
After a while everyone finished up and soon looked toward the royals.
“It seems everyone is finished, we shall proceed to the main topic today. You heroes need to decide if you will go alone, pair up between yourselves or go in one large group. If you go alone, we can provide a few recruits to join your party,” the queen said.
All the heroes looked at each other, and as expected, pretty boy stood up and in a most glorious fashion he began his speech.
“I believe we, as heroes, must work together and accomplish our objective to return home and see ou—”
“I'll pass!” I cut him off.
Cutting his flow left him frozen for a long moment before he looked at me.
“Why?” he asked but his expression was dark.
“I said it when we first arrived, I died and was caught by the hero summoning spell. I was pretty much reborn into this world, got nothing left in that world anyway. Parents are dead, my little sister is married and happily living in a different country, no cousins within reach to even care about me, so I don’t give a rats ass about returning,” I replied.
Some of the people, including the princes were a bit surprised by my words.
“I kind of agree with him,” a young girl with dark silky straight hair and a petite figure said. She looked around 16, but I knew better than to judge sizes especially toward a Japanese girl. On her lap was a katana in the plain white sheath it came with. Its guard was basic and round, while the hilt had just simple white leather straps. She wore a shrine maiden’s clothing and had part of her hair tied in the front hanging in front and not behind her.
“What exactly do you agree with?” the queen asked.
“I died after being attacked by a tiger and my soul was picked up as well, I see no reason to return,” she said stone faced.
The pretty boy’s eye twitched, most likely he had his eyes on her because she was a grade A beauty.
“It seems this incident isn’t isolated, please raise your hand if you died before being summoned?” the queen asked.
Several people including the two of us raised our hands. In total, besides me and the girl, a swordsman, a male mage, a male and female archer pair, and a woman with a halberd raised their hands.
“Any of you feel like traveling with the hero?” the queen asked and everyone shook their heads.
Of the 15 summoned, 7 had already broken away from Mr. Hero.
“Do any of you plan to partner up?” the queen asked.
“I am still 17 and wish to be with a responsible adult. I wish to follow Mr. Ace if you will allow me?” the Japanese asked, and I shrugged.
The others formed a single party.
As for the remaining people they all looked at each other before finally looking at the pretty boy and then turning to look at a man at the furthest end of the table. He was tall and was someone that got a longsword. It looked like a katana with the curve but it was almost two meters long and needed to be swung in large arcs. It was two-handed sword like a greatsword, but it was lighter and allowed fast combos.
I remembered seeing similar things inside a game back on Earth.
“I don’t plan to follow such a hypocrite like that guy, I'll go my own way,” the swordsman said.
Within the group of heroes, it goes without saying that some had fierce personalities, and others with weaker ones; but the ones with the biggest egos were myself, pretty boy, and this extremely dangerous swordsman. Even I felt cautious around him. He clearly did some kind of field work or was a war veteran.
At that point, a girl with fake cat ears stood up and walked over and asked to join his party, followed by a really skittish girl holding a staff. This was the only healer that appeared and had a rather weak personality, but it fit her.
I almost laughed when only one guy, a mage, wanted to join pretty boy while the others formed a separate group.
Mr. Hero’s face was bright red at the shame of being so ignored.
“Are we done?” I asked.
“We just need to write down who is with whom, and then we will arrange the rooms so teammates are near each other. Starting tomorrow, the training for each of you will begin, Mr. Cross, you will join weapon training in the morning, magic in the afternoon and gain basic understandings of crafts in the evening. Our librarian has already found the book on the runic language. It has been transported to your room. Please refrain from using the pen and runes to do magic unless you are in the training rooms,” the queen said.
“So I was seen, as expected,” I thought and nodded.
“Now, you are all free to enjoy your evenings and good night,” the queen said and got up.
At her orders we all left. The queen was by far the scariest person in that room but at least she was more impartial than the king who only wanted to favor the one with the class designation hero, instead of different classes.
Returning to my room I found several dozen maids who measured me before leaving, and returned with some sleeping clothes I could change into. I stepped out of my jeans, black shirt and shoes.
I knew they would be gone by morning and sighed before falling into bed. I fell asleep after storing my book, pen and sword beside my bed, and the book on runic language next to my own artifact.