Two Childhood Friends Chapter 9 

Chapter 9 Into the Dungeon

“Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not just throwing you in to battle monsters right away. You’ll only be walking through the very shallow floors that the Self Defense Force has secured. Just get a feel for the atmosphere and whatnot. It’s more like a stroll. Just chat casually as you walk through,” Urazumi said.

Really…? I looked at Urazumi skeptically.

[You basically distrust everything, don’t you?]

What’s wrong with that? Come on, don’t go throwing middle school kids into a dungeon where murderous monsters appear.

Are child soldiers acceptable now?

[Well they’re certainly not going to toss untrained high school freshmen into a life or death situation.]

While the parasite is being optimistic, I don’t trust others. Not Urazumi at all. So I need to keep my two human shields close at hand just in case…

‘Being able to naturally use people as human shields is a pretty rare trait in this day and age, huh?’

I’m flattered.

‘Oh, did that sound like a compliment?’

Anyway, I’ll keep Kirako and Kakuregi close by. If something happens, I can use them as bait to escape. They’re such convenient pawns.

“Dear sir, I’m a bit scared. Let’s stick together, okay?” Kirako said to me with a glint in her eye.

“Of course,” I smiled back knowingly.

She’s thinking the same thing… Use them before you get used. Be prepared.

‘You’re both only seeing each other as shields…’

Yeah.

“Man, with you two flirting so much, it really highlights how much of an outsider I am. Could you maybe tone it down so I don’t feel so left out?” Kakuregi chimed in as she awkwardly approached. Still so hard to see. Do something about your invisibility already, transparent one.

“Oh right, sorry about that. Of course you’re an important friend too. Let’s all work hard together for Japan and the world!”

“Yes, let’s cooperate, everyone!”

‘Saying things you don’t mean in the slightest…’

Yup.

“Oh, you’re unexpectedly passionate! I’ll do my best too!” Kakuregi cheered with gusto…I think. Annoying.

Oh yeah, give it your all. As my meat shield.

‘How awful that you’d so nonchalantly use your classmates as scapegoats.’

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“…………”

‘It’s got a really intense atmosphere, huh?’

I stood frozen before the dungeon. It was like a massive cavern. But far larger than a normal cave—not that I’d ever been in one—the entrance was huge. Big enough for monsters to come crawling out. And that’s exactly what happened, leading to many casualties. It sends a shiver down my spine to think I got caught up in this.

Other people? Don’t know them. Anyway, this dungeon is scary! Am I hearing weird groaning noises? Is it my imagination? I feel like I’m hearing screams, but maybe it’s in my head?

‘You’re freaking out way too much. And if students were actually screaming, that would be a major incident already.’

Well, he did call it a recreational stroll and we’re just walking through the shallow floors. But still, I don’t want to go near anywhere my life could be in danger. That’s just how I feel.

So I turned to Kirako, who also had a tense look on her face, and gave her a grin.

“Ladies first, Kirako. Go on ahead.”

“I’m the type of girl who quietly walks three steps behind the man. You go first, kind sir.”

What nonsense is she spouting? Kirako and I glared at each other.

Walking three steps behind, yeah right. She’s definitely lying. And even if that were true, she’d only be going first to push any danger onto me.

“Hey, if you’re both hesitating, we’ll get nowhere. I’ll go first!”

Frustrated by our standstill, Kakuregi strode ahead…or so I gathered. Good. Check that it’s safe with your body first. Come on.

And so we stood at the entrance of the dungeon. Nearby were armed Self Defense Force members. I had no idea how they managed things, but they seemed ready to engage any monsters that emerged.

…Come to think of it again, don’t send kids into such a dangerous place!

“It’s so huge! How did something this big naturally form?” Kakuregi called out, bored as we waited our turn.

No clue. I’d always thought it was a place I’d never get involved with, so I had zero interest. Worst ever.

“Alright, next group, move in!” Urazumi called out to us.

I don’t wanna go in…

“That’s us! Let’s go!”

“Uhh…okay.”

‘You both responded so halfheartedly!’

Many students entered the dungeon. Included among them were Yoshihito Aijou and Kuromitsu Kirako, who had become nationally famous due to their dramatic elopement.

Watching them go in were Urazumi and another teacher.

“They’ve all gone in, Urazumi-sensei.”

“Ah, looks like it. So, are we doing the usual yearly thing too?”

“Yes. It just doesn’t feel right without it. To prevent these kids who suddenly got the great power of special abilities from getting cocky and going down the wrong path. And to keep them from dying by overestimating their powers in the dungeon. It’s necessary, don’t you think?”

The teacher gave a wry smile in response to Urazumi’s bored look. They wouldn’t do this just to surprise the students. If it was only a test of courage, they should stop it immediately, Urazumi had argued. But the fear experienced in this dungeon taught the students their own limits. They were still young, barely graduated middle school. When tremendous power like special abilities is suddenly granted to children, some could misuse it for nefarious purposes. They were forcibly enrolled into Japan’s Special Abilities Development Academy to regulate them, but in addition, this important event taught them they weren’t special. And overcoming a crisis together would nurture camaraderie among them. A bonding recreational event, so to speak. Not entirely a lie.

“But if we mess this up, it’ll easily cost us our jobs, right?”

“Please don’t say scary things like that…”

Certainly, if this got out and was reported on by the media, there would be considerable backlash. Of course, they were being closely monitored and managed to prevent anything like that. But still.

“Well, I wouldn’t mind getting fired or anything.”

“Urazumi-sensei!”


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