Before the tutorial begins chapter 11

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Chapter 11: The Reaper of the Dungeon and the Sword of the Six Flowers, 3

Scene Transition

Dungeon City Sakura – 27th Dungeon [Eclipse] 1st Floor

Whenever the name Haruka Aono is mentioned, it is almost always in reference to kanata Aono, commonly known as kanatan.

She represents the prestigious Haruka sword family’s next generation and is regarded as one of the five heroines of the Spirit Great War Dungeon Magia (original version).

kanatan’s elegant, simple, and strong appearance captivated numerous players, earning her immense popularity. She embodied elegance, simplicity, and strength, and her appeal reached a considerable scale.

Like many others, I was enchanted by her every move, playing the game with a pounding heart.

She was cute, beautiful, with the attribute of a tsundere samurai girl heroine basically the epitome of moe. At that time, I was undoubtedly in love with kanatan.

I can confidently say that she was an attractive and cool heroine.

However, despite her popularity, the evaluation of kanata Aono’s exclusive route in the gaming community can be summed up in one word: terrible.

The reason is simple. Her route was incredibly difficult due to the excessively strong enemies.

I understand the feeling of wanting a challenge and strong enemies, but kanata Aono’s route shattered that expectation.

If I didn’t know anything, I might have had the same impression, and I do think that the difficulty of the story and the game should be considered separately.

But kanata Aono’s “route” crushes such common sense. It was awfully difficult.

For instance, there were weak enemies that launched multiple status ailment attacks in a preemptive strike. There were enemies that should have been weak but could one-shot your allies. And then there were those who unilaterally stole your items and levels, becoming invincible for a certain number of turns while continuously healing and resurrecting their allies. These traumatizing enemies would gang up on you every few steps in the dungeon.

It was frustrating and completely different from the experiences of other routes. The exclusive features of kanatan’s route were infuriating.

Even the boss enemy of this route, “Kengokurasetsu,” the fearsome battle maniac who evolved by devouring a girl with extraordinary talent, had an absurd fighting style. Attacking six times with a normal attack while simultaneously using devour, summoning, and binding—was such a reaper even allowed to exist?

It’s ridiculous! Go back and try again after equipping some common sense, you damn rotten skeleton!

It was ridiculously unfair. The designers who came up with this ability should be condemned.

Apologies for my outburst, but can you understand my frustration?

What kind of nonsense is a nine-action turn? Are they insane?

Even the hidden boss, Al, showed more restraint in the number of actions per turn (despite his habit of skipping turns and attacking with instant death damage)!

Having strong enemies isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If this were the true end or grand route of kanatan’s story, such devilish difficulty might have been forgivable.

But in reality, kanatan’s route concluded with unresolved world truths and problems for the protagonist and others. As a character unlocked in the middle of the game, this unreasonable difficulty was just wrong.

Despite the intense production, excellent voice acting, and other high-quality aspects, the evaluation of kanatan’s route alone remained extremely negative for these reasons.

Moreover, the crucial scenario revolving around “kanatan’s sister, being taken over by a mutant and unable to die, and kanatan, the younger sister, defeating her with the protagonist” led to bitter irony. Supporters of kanatan ended up disliking her route.

However, it is for these reasons or perhaps despite them that I wanted to praise myself from the bottom of my heart for making it to this moment.

I made it. It was a close call, but I managed to arrive just in time.

Despite her fate trampling upon her dignity even in death, Haruka… she is alive.

She stands there unharmed, without any noticeable wounds, living as a proper human being. The sight filled me with immense happiness, and tears involuntarily welled up in my eyes.

I couldn’t help but feel incredibly happy, and tears started welling up involuntarily–“

[Spiritual link forced synchronization. Setting the priority of thought communication speed to the master’s reflex actions and initiating virtual nerve connection to the spinal cord. Master, permission granted.]

We were still amidst the battlefield, and without hesitation, I immediately accepted Al’s forced intervention rights. I returned my mind and body to a combat-ready state to assess the situation around me.

Our senses, raised to the level of not just sharing but synchronizing, allowed us to communicate information faster than thought itself. It was the state of human-spirit fusion, where Al, like a pilot, boarded inside me, enhancing my movements through tuning and boosting my ability to sense spiritual power.

Though I hadn’t transformed into a Sword Prison Rakshasa, Al himself being a mutant meant we couldn’t afford to be careless against roaming symbol encounters. We had to remain fully attentive and exercise maximum caution, ensuring we didn’t miss a single move.

[The target is still in a crouching position and remains silent., and there are no changes in the surrounding spiritual power. It’s the perfect time to remove the chains] Al informed me.

Upon receiving the signal, I swiftly swung my greatsword, shattering the chains that bound Haruka Aono’s limbs. With a dull metallic sound, her body was finally set free.

Supporting her waist, which had lost its support, I helped her stand up, making sure to minimize any strain on her.

“Can you stand?” I asked.

“Hehe. Thank you. You saved me,” she replied, laughing wryly. The girl with blue hair stood up firmly, her external injuries seemingly nonexistent, but….

[No spiritual damage detected. Although there is slight fatigue, she can be considered in a healthy state.]

Al’s diagnosis brought a wave of relief. It was reassuring to know that she was truly unharmed.

A sense of relief filled my chest, but just to be safe, I decided to offer her something.

From my pocket, I took out a transparent bottle filled with red liquid and placed it next to Haruka Aono. With both hands, she held the bottle filled with a wide liquid, looking at me with curiosity.

“Um, what is this?” she asked.

“It’s a healing power activation agent. When it reacts to the spiritual power in your body, it enhances your natural healing ability and helps with fatigue recovery. Drink it when you get the chance,” I explained.

It was a healing power activation agent given to me by my aunt as a celebration for passing the adventurer’s exam. Although I felt a twinge of guilt for giving it away, I decided it would be better utilized by Haruka.

“To think that after saving me, you even give me an item that seems like something an adventurer would have. Shimizu-kun, are you a good person?” she inquired.

“I strive to be a gentleman, regardless of whether I’m a good person or not. But more importantly, you–” I started to say.

“I’m Haruka. Haruka Aono. Since it’s dangerous here, could you please evacuate as soon as possible?” she interrupted, cutting to the chase.

With that, I handed her a piece of paper.

YOU ARE READING STOLEN TRANSLATION. READ THE ORIGINAL TRANSLATION AT GADGETIZEDPANDA.COM

“This was entrusted to me by Examiner Nikaido. It’s a complete map of this place. The red circle marks our current location, and the black circle represents the entrance. With your abilities, you should be able to reach there quickly, right?”

As I conveyed the information concisely, the voice of Examiner Nikaido resonated in my mind.

“I would be disqualified as an examiner for asking such a thing of an examinee. But right now, I want to entrust you, who has overcome the trials of Examiner Akabane, with her. Please, please help her.”

“Thanks to Haruka Aono, I was able to escape from danger,” said Exam Administrator Nikaido, recounting their experience. He entrusted everything to me, even though we had just met by chance.

Was it irresponsible or cowardly? No, it wasn’t.

Exam Administrator Nikaido’s actions, disregarding his pride as an examiner and his personal dignity, were neither cowardly nor weak. It was the way it should be.

If he really cared about his own safety, he wouldn’t have sent me straight into the mutants’ lair. The right and safe thing to do would have been to give me some grown-up reasoning and send me back by force. Otherwise he would risk losing his job, or worse, being punished in some way. It was a terrible step in a series of terrible steps.

But he believed in me and helped me. He took the risk of jeopardising his position as part of the administration. Of course, it wasn’t a decision made without evidence.

I think it was based on the Examiner Akabane Medal I had and the quality of spiritual power I possessed.

But what of it?

Is it really possible to bet everything on such limited evidence and aim for a possibility where no one dies? Is that normal?

It would have taken a considerable amount of courage to make that choice, knowing that one’s own position was at stake and that one could be blamed even if things went well.

Thank you, Examiner Nikaido. Your feelings will never be in vain. I will definitely save her.

…Well, with such an unexpected and noble determination, I had made up my mind, but that determination would be shattered in a matter of seconds.

Why, you ask?

“Eh, no way.”

It was none other than the rescue target herself who refused.

Hahaha, hahahaha.

I don’t know what it is, but my veins are twitching uncontrollably.

“Okay, explain the reason to me. Make it as short as you can.

“I still have a lot of fight left in me. So let’s fight together. Okay?”

None of this is okay.

“I don’t want to sound too grateful, but you were about to die.”

“I know! I was saved by Shimizu-kun. Thank you, I really appreciate it. Is that enough? Then let’s work together and defeat that guy!”

I was stunned.

In front of the enemy who almost killed her, she didn’t even flinch, let alone break.

“No, listen.”

Just as I tried to persuade Haruka Aono,

“!?”

a chilling sensation filled the air, tingling my sixth sense.

It was an ominous spiritual power. Reacting swiftly, I dodged to the side and warned the combat cyborg beside me.

[Something’s coming from behind, probably chains. Stay alert and dodge!]

“Got it!”

We quickly moved away from previous position, anticipating the incoming attack. Four chains struck the spot where we had stood moments ago. One chain targeted me, while three went for her.

Damn, that lolicon seems fixated on her.

[Forget the obvious hints, the problem is why he waited between attacks.]

“He’s probably regaining stamina, assessing our movements, and selecting the right moment to strike… likely reloading the chains.”

[Quite an analysis for a master. Gold star for you.]

“Thanks. So, what’s the plan? The princess we just rescued seems highly motivated.”

…We need to change our strategy and adopt a cooperative approach.

Exactly. Let’s give it a shot.

In less than a second, I concluded my mental conversation with Al and called out to Haruka Aono, who was charging towards the death god.

“We’ll flank from both sides! Watch out for the chains!”

“Okay! I’m ready!”

She responded cheerfully, grasping the katana from our supplies with graceful movements.

Her joyful laughter is contagious. It’s fueling my determination.

“Al, let’s do it.”

With my excitement building, I commanded my partner to activate a specific skill.

It was my ultimate and most powerful attack technique at my disposal.

Although it carried substantial recoil and risk, if it landed, it could potentially end the battle in a single strike.

[Just be mindful of your actions after activation. I won’t be pleased if you end up dead,]

“Don’t worry. I won’t let anyone, including myself, die,”

[Very well, then…]

With those words, the spiritual power within me stirred, emitting a pleasant resonance.

It appeared that I had gained approval from the hidden boss, assuming it truly existed.

Now, there was nothing left but to unleash my trump card without hesitation.

“I shall vanquish you, [■■■■■]—!”

Proclaiming its name, I swung the mighty greatsword with the velocity of a bullet.



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