The decision was whether to 『Wait』, or 『Move』.
The cut on my thigh was shallow (My body probably pulled back reflexively ). But, no matter how much pressure I applied to stop the bleeding, I’m still in a state where it’s difficult to move.
If I move the bleeding will increase, and I would lose my stamina.
And that loss would probably endanger my life.
Therefore, I 『Wait』.
In cases of emergencies, it’s normal practice to not move and instead wait for help. Thoughtlessly moving could end up with getting dragged into further dangers, and no amount of lives would be enough for that. 『Waiting』 here should be the most composed, and correct answer.
Yes, this should be correct……. It should be correct.
While suppressing the shaking of my body, I repeat it to myself many times.
Using a sword, I move to a wall and place my back on it.
I don’t want to move anymore. I don’t know what’s happening. If it’s a dream please let me wake up.
Because of that unreasonable violence, my heart had been completely broken.
I can no longer take a single step from here with my freezing body.
『Waiting』 here is terrifying. But, 『Moving』 would be even more terrifying.
Without thinking of anything, I simply wait.
Somewhere in my heart I knew that help wouldn’t arrive. But, a little, ―― just a little, I wanted to be able to have more time to think calmly.
While sitting, I stare into the air in a daze.
Perhaps, that is my body’s emergency response to my broken heart.
How many hours, was I like that…….
Luckily, no new visitor had appeared. Not a new human, not a new monster, no one.
No one appeared. ―― But, it appeared.
In a space with nothing in it. A faint flame gathers in the corridor and changes into a figure. The figure settled into that of a beast, one with green fur, and a white fang peeking out.
Yes, the giant wolf that had disappeared a few hours back, had appeared.
Our eyes meet.
Of course, that wolf carried not a single wound. The only one who is a mess is me.
Understanding the situation, I try to get away, I run with everything I have.
However, that everything is slow.
The feeling of a best tearing into my back, a burning like pain, runs through my whole body.
But even then, I run.
I don’t have any will to fight. With my broken heart, I could only run.
Throwing off whatever I had on my body, I raise a yell, and run without caring about my appearance.
And then, my arm is torn into, my leg is torn into, and I became covered in blood.
Gradually losing my speed, I am thrown to the wall by the wolf’s attack.
Being thrown, and with my conscience leaving, I see my death.
I will be eaten by this wolf and die.
That is my end.
With such thoughts, as my conscience sinks into a profound darkness――
In the end, Somewhere I hear the carefree, yet delighted voice of a man.
My conscience that had sunk into that darkness, gradually begins rising up.
With the assistance of the sharp pain throughout my body, my concoince slowly wakes up.
「Nn, uu, aah……」
I open my eyelids, and a faint light is reflected in my eyes.
And then, I hear a voice.
「You finally woke up, boy」
Lured by the voice, I turn to its direction.
In the darkness is a red haired girl with odd bandages wrapped around her whole body.
The girl takes a seat on a chair by my side and looks at me. I realize that I’ve been sleeping and raise my body.
However, the sharp pain in my body did not permit that.
「You don’t have to force yourself. It’s safe here. Take it easy and rest your body」
The girl says in a gentle voice, and then she extends her hand and pats me head.
I almost cry because of that gentle tone.
It reminded me of when I was young, those times when I saw a scary dream and my mother comforted me.
I realize that my life was saved by that compassionate girl and that she has been nursing me.
While lying down, and without straining myself, I slowly let out my voice.
「Did you, save me…… ?」
「No, the one who saved you wasn’t me. The one who saved you, was someone else. The reason I’m here is because I thought it’d be pitiful if you woke up and saw that」
「Aah, so someone else saved me. And, you have been nursing me……」
「That’s how it is」
The girl answers in a haughty tone.
And so, I think. Where is this, what was that at the corridor, why――
「―― It should be fine already. I also want to enter the conversation」
As I was analysing the situation, a black something grows by the girls side, and that pleasantly speaks.
I raise my voice in surprise.
That which grew from the ground takes the form of a person. It has the form, but it’s by no means a person. It was like its figure was made from clay, and its face was a noh mask.
「Oh, I surprised you. I can’t stay still for long, forgive me」
「Teeda’s entrances are always bad for the heart. Be more careful. The boy’s wounds could worsen」
「Hmm, hmm, hmm. You’re really taking his side, Alty. Although you hate men, you were even patting him before」
「…… Who knows, I’m also not so sure myself. I’m not so sure, but for some reason, this boy is okay」
The girl intimately talks with that noh mask monster.
I desperately calm the confusion in my head, and from the context I understood that this man is not an enemy.
「Eh, uhh……, are you the gentleman who helped me…… ?」
I asked in a nervous tone.
「Aah! I’m the one who helped you! I just happened to be close, and I was very interested!」
「That is, thank you, very much……」
With a great smile (with the noh mask’s curve, it kind of looks like he’s laughing), the noh mask tells me that he’s my benefactor.
「Fufufuu, I am the guard that protects the 20th floor, the one who stole the natural law of darkness Teeda. Nice to meet you」
「I’m Alty. For the most part, I guard the 10th floor」
The 2 introduced themselves, and I also return an introduction in a panic.
「Uhh, I’m Aikawa Kanami」
With a slight bow, my introduction ends.
Not understanding the meaning of 10th and 20th floor, I tilt my head.
「Funfun, then I’ll call you Kanami. For some reason, calling you Kanami feels just right. Feel free to call me Teeda as well. If not, then I’ll be the one who can’t settle down. Same goes for Alty」
「Aah, no need to add anything. After all, Kanami is a human, and we are monsters」
At the very end, an astonishing fact comes to light.
Alty said that they are monsters.
「Eh, uhh, monsters…… ?」
I repeat it as if to confirm it, and Teeda happily explains.
「That’s right, that monster. Even with her cute face, Alty is a monster among monsters. If you defeat us, we’ll leave a magic stone and disappear」
RPG like words are fly around, and I’m thrown into confusion.
「Huh, so you don’t even know what magic stones are? As expected, you are interesting. It was so unbalanced, that I ended up helping」
「Ah, I am truly grateful that you helped me……」
「No, that doesn’t matter. Don’t mind it. More importantly, is you. Above all, is you. Just who are you, why were you there. I am very interested」
「Who am I, why was I there……」
That’s what I want to ask.
However, it’s the wish of the one who saved my life. I’d like to answer as best as I can.
As if squeezing it out, my words come out bit by bit.
「When I opened my eyes, I was suddenly there. Before that I should’ve been in my house…… I returned home from work, had a meal with my sister, prepared for tomorrow, and I should’ve been sleeping on the bed at home. And yet…… 」
「Fuun fuun, you are in a very irregular situation aren’t you. There may be something that we can help with, so can you say everything. I can’t help but be curious about it」
「I, I understand. Then――」
About myself. And, about when I came here. I continue speaking.
I didn’t consider lying, and when it ended the expressions of the two made a sudden change.
Teeda was in delight, and Alty in amazement.
While rejoicing, Teeda tells me of a lot of things.
「―― There no doubt, you came to this world, from a 『Different World』! Amazing, so this 『Labyrinth』 can also do that type of thing, no, could it be that this is favoritism!?」
「A di, different world?」
「Aah, that’s right. You were unluckily, no, and also luckily, called to this world. Compared to the world you were in, this one is a completely different thing」
I couldn’t deny that. This situation confirms it.
Monsters, labyrinth, magic like fire, and also, the Teeda that is rejoicing before me. All of them appear to be from a fairy-tale. There’s a fundamental difference with the logic from my world.
「Ah, aah, sorry, Kanami. This isn’t something to laugh about. That, sister that is waiting at home……」
「Ye, yes……. That’s why, I have to return. As soon as possible……」
「Fumu, let’s see. I don’t want Kanami to return, I don’t want him to return, but I am willing to help」
I move my injured body, and turn in the direction of Teeda.
「Aah, if everything is as I expect, you can return home――」
「I can return. If I can return, then, I’ll do anything!」
「Good reply, Kanami. After all, I too, am not simply cooperating for free. There’s something I want you to do!」
「What is it!?」
My highest priority is returning to my little sister.
For that, I am prepared to do anything. And I also want to be of use to my 2 benefactors.
「―― Starting today, you are a Guardian! You are the guard of the 0th floor, Kanami!」
And so, Teeda declared.
To the side of the yawning Alty, he heroically called me a Guardian.
My heart leaps.
I knew it was something completely crazy. However, the part of me that likes games, found that declaration charming.
That was the start.
The start of my throbbing heart.
Later on, this would be the story of how I became called the Dungeon Master.
And this was the beginning of that story――.
After meeting with Teeda and Alty, the details of my return plan were decided.
Comparing it with what I learned of this world, it was something that I could agree on. Above all, this is the plan of Teeda and Alty who I trust in. I had no reason to reject it.
Although Teeda is enjoying himself, he is moving in order for me to return.
And so, in place of the 2, I took on the job of the labrynth’s Guardian.
Today I’m doing the preliminary work in order to fulfill that duty. Training.
In the darkness of the 20th floor, I train with Alty.
「Listen up, Kanami. The fundamentals of magic are, strength of mind, and offerings. Though offerings depend on the situation, it is possible to train the root of magical power that is the mind」
「If your mind becomes stronger, then the foundation of your magic and abilities will naturally rise. Do you understand?」
「Un, I have nothing to say about that. But there is something else I want to ask about」
I voice my opinion to my benefactor and now also master Alty.
「Hohou, let’s hear it」
「Why, are we training the mind, with this situation?」
Alty clung onto my back with her small body at a distance where her breath could reach.
「Training of one’s presence of mind」
「No, even without the training I’m already calm」
It’s not like my heart is particularly flustered.
「Mu, you can keep your presence of mind even with such a cute girl clinging onto you?」
「Since Alty’s like a little sister. My little sister also constantly clung onto me like that, it’s not really much……」
「Eh, you did these things with your little sister?」
「Don’t pull, there are circumstances, circumstances」
Not wanting to cause any misunderstandings, I repeat that there were circumstances.
Alty hears that and groans as if worried.
「Ummu, you’re used to it. Then, it has to be even closer」
「No, any more than this is a bit……」
「I’ll take off my cursed cloth. You also strip」
「Please wait, Master」
「What is it?」
「It feels like a crime, please stop. Skin to skin is out」
「It’s fine. Without my cursed cloth, I’m just flames. It’d be flames to skin」
「That’ll, burn me…… ?」
「It’s mental training. If you’re able to master the ability to clear your mind, then there’ll be no problem」
「And in return for being able to master that, I’m pretty sure I’ll become coal」
「It’s fine. I’ll restrain the heat. I’ll leave it at medium rare」
「Is that supposed to help me relax?」
「Well, Kanami doesn’t have the right to veto」
「Hot! It’s super hot! Wait, Alty! My HP keeps decreasing, please!!」
Before I knew it, Alty was at my back with her cursed cloth off and cooking my body.
「Fufuu, being able to see HP is helpful isn’t it. Conversely, as long as that doesn’t become zero, Kanami won’t die. Good going Kanami, we can train until you reach your limit」
「We’ll keep going until my HP is 1!?」
「Aah, of course. Since it looks like Kanami doesn’t feel anything even when I’m clinging onto you. I am reluctant, but this is the only way left to train. Aah, I am truly reluctant」
「Hu, huh. Could it be, Alty, you’re a bit angry?」
「Fufuu, angry? What are you saying, I don’t have the ability to get angry? It’s just that something unpleasant happened so I changed the training method a bit?」
In such a way, I get over the bullying in the name of training.
Honestly, what Alty is good at teaching is only the fundamentals of magic and chanting.
I also trained in taijutsu and swordsmanship.
Since my level goes up the more I fight, for the future, there is also a need to train in that.
「For the time being, Kanami should go to the 90th floor. Please release our other 7 companions. This is training for that」
「Haa, another 7, are they like Alty……」
「You’re also a companion. 『The One Who Stole The Natural Law of Dimension Kanami』」
「Please stop with that……, it’s kind of emberassing……」
「It’s something like a greeting for us. If you don’t name yourself like this, our 7 companions will attack you?」
「I, I wouldn’t want that……」
「Then, were resuming the training. Since Kanami has talent in magic. I’ll first have you master magic」
「What training will we have today……?」
「Unn, for now, let’s exchange magic attacks?」
「I’ve been thinking it, but Alty isn’t fit to teach」
「Then hurry and become strong and move along the labyrinth. Among our 7 companions, there is one who’s good at teaching」
And so, the training continues.
Basically the labyrinth is short on manpower. For the sake of my goal, and the goal of Alty and the others, I have to become stronger, and as a human reach every floor in order to undo the seals.
In the morning I hunt monsters, and at noon I train with Alty or Teeda on the 20th floor. That repeated.
My life became centered on the liquid house of the 20th floor. Teeda can manipulate liquids with his ability. Putting that ability to use, he made a house for me. By the way, Alty regularly replenishes living ware from the town.
Several days passed with such a life, and I gained some ability as a guardian.
And then, I was entrusted with the first 20th floor trial.
While rolling around the bed in the liquid house, Teeda’s voice rings out in a panic.
「Kanami, some strong people are heading there!」
A mouth forms on the houses liquids and speaks to me.
「Eh, but, Alty isn’t here right now?」
「Umu, that’s the point……, sorry, but can Kanami do the trial?」
「Kanami became strong. Even with humanity’s top 10 as your opponent you should be fine. Although the plans have been hastened, I don’t think there’ll be a problem」
「Instead of hurrying the plan, wouldn’t it be fine to let them move on to the 21st floor……?」
「If possible, I’d like to carefully conduct a trial on these challengers. I’ve confirmed it through one of my retainers, they are overflowing with talent. It would be regrettable to lose this on the 21st floor」
「Okay, Teeda. You can leave it to me」
「I’m counting on you」
That’s the last sound I hear.
I start sweating because of the sudden important task. However, my close friend Teeda is relying on me. I fire myself up and begin preparing.
I take out the cursed cloth I received from 『Items』 and wrap it around my body. I then put a purple robe on top of that. The robe is big and covers my whole body, all that can be seen is my mouth. At the end, I put a rapier on my back, put on Teeda’s handmade mask, and take a wooden cane in hand.
With this I’m ready.
The completion of an extremely suspicious mage.
And so, I wait.
I can’t afford to embarrass myself as a Guardian. I run a simulation in my head numerous times and repeat my lines.
And soon enough, the challengers arrive at the 20th floor.
That was our meeting.
The fact that the challengers are a part of four girls bewildered me. It’s a unique party. It’s true that girl only parties exists. However, most girls lean towards magic, so if it’s a girl only party, the balance would be bad.
While bewildered, I 『Observe』. And then, I understand that it was a needless worry.
Each and everyone of them are genuine monsters.
4 girls who are lumps of talent. And also, the party balance is perfect. Their average level is about 15.
The first person, is a terrifying beauty with golden hair, Tiara Whoseyards. The girl standing at the very front and who I believe to be the leader, her level is also high. She has high physical abilities and combat skills on display. She can fight with a sword, but she can probably also fight with magic. An allrounder vanguard,.
The second person, this is also a terrifyingly beautiful blonde haired girl. However, her height is smaller than Tiara Whoseyards. Her name is Diablo Sith. But, rather than a girl, her beauty is more androgynous, and coupled with her short hair, I’d even mistake her for a pretty boy. This kid is definitely a mage from town. Her physical ability is low, but in exchange, she has extraordinary magic stats. She also has a ton of magic type skills, her position will most likely be at the very back.
The third person, a young girl with black hair and black eyes void of life, Maria Distrus. Just like Diablo Sith, this kid is also at the back. However, because of her skills and status that can be used in close combat, there’s a need to be careful. Only her flame magic is abnormally high, she’s probably like Alty, a mage that specializes in wide range attacks. I have to always be careful about this kid firing a shot.
The fourth person, is a blue haired dragon newt, Snow Walker. From what I can see on her status it looks like she’s assigned the role of guarding the 2 at the back. With high defensive power, and the fact that she’s from the dragon newt race, her studiness is the best in the party. And also, it’s not like her magic power is low. Because of the unusual magic skills she has, she will probably be somewhat tricky.
This is everyone…….
No, I feel like something is off…….
Before, when Teeda was doing 20th trials on a whim, he never had these monsters as an opponent. Although they had talent, their strength was still in the category of a human, the strength of their parties would be on the level of cute.
However, these girls are different.
It is clearly a group of 4 that is trying to kill the labyrinth.
I break out into a cold sweat, and say the lines I prepared beforehand.
「Ho, how commendable of you to come. Oh human searchers……. However, I will now test whether you have the qualifications to proceed. I am the Guardian of the 0th floor, the one who stole the natural law of dimension Kanami……」
They shouldn’t be able to see my flustered expression thanks to the mask. However, I’m worried if the fluctuations in my voice were heard. Did I properly act like a boss.
In response to me naming myself, the girl at the lead, Tiara, answers.
「Guardian of the 0th floor?」
「Aah, it was recently, but I was born inside the labyrinth. Well, I may be a newcomer, but even then I am a Guardian. I believe I will meet your expectation」
I can no longer back out. I have to stick with the character I prepared.
「I see. In truth I wanted to defeat that rumored Teeda, but it doesn’t matter if it’s you. If you will stand in the way, we’ll only crush you」
「Fuu, those are good eyes. However, it is still too soon. I will have you witness your own limits, humans」
Tiara Whoseyards and I glare at each other.
Honestly, I can’t stop sweating. This kid looks dangerous. Something like an aura is coming out.
「Sith, Maria, Snow, we’ll do the same as always!」
And so, Tiara Whoseyards draws her sword and yells.
At the same time the four disperse, and make something like a formation.
「Now then, do your best. Will you be able to injure this body?」
I deploy my magic to match them.
And like this, the battle has begun
The beginning of a long, long, battle.
This is, the first meeting with the girls who would be my life long rivals.
These girls are most likely the protagonists in my story as the Dungeon Master.
That’s the extent of how many battles I had with those girls.
Meeting as a boss monster in the dungeon, meeting in town as a human when I take my mask off, the girls I will be acquainted with for a very long time.
As a boss we are long time enemies, but as a human we are friends. I never mention the fact that I’m a boss, and I watch over the girls’ growth. Because, I feel that these girls are the ones who will be able to grant the wishes of Alty and the others.
Above all, there are things that can’t be seen.
All 4 of them had too many mental issues. A mind driven mad, a cursed mind, a dead mind, a despairing mind, anyway, all 4 of them had too many flaws as humans.
I couldn’t stand by watching, and as a human I got close to the girls, and tried to cure those minds. I knew that by doing that, I would be tied to growth of those girls.
In the end, it was a great success.
They each climbed over their own respective fates, and the day came that they appeared before me as the strongest challengers.
With the usual laugh, I reply.
「You came……. I will introduce myself once again, I am the Guardian of the 0th floor and the Dungeon Master, the one who stole the natural law of dimension Kanami. Now then, let the trial commence……」
Not too far in the future, I will disappear.
However, at that time, my regret would be these 4.
It’s for that reason that I laugh.
I conduct the trial with a laugh.
With a wish that when I’m gone, they will be able to find their own happiness.
This is my story.
The story of the Dungeon Master…….