Before the tutorial begins chapter 39

Chapter 39: Keraunos

◆Dungeon City Sakuraflower – 336th Dungeon [Eternal Darkness] 15th Floor

The desperate last attack Kamak unleashed at the cost of its own life.

A massive fireball condensed with hatred narrowly grazed past me in my [Four-Dimensional Defense] state.

This is bad.

Having intuitively felt that, I immediately canceled [Four-Dimensional Defense] and moved to recover.

“Jupiter!”

As I glanced back, praying she would make it in time,

I did not think such an attack could harm Jupiter.

However, if she perceived it as having “attacked” her in the slightest, it would be disastrous.

It was not about whether it could be defended against.

It was not about the degree of damage.

Simply, the moment his daughter sensed danger

“Ah……”

—-That was when it would rage.

“AWOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!”

A roar echoed through the world.

The sky turned black, and jet-black lightning rained down on the earth.

What manifested was a jet-black beast.

The avatar of the patriarch that annihilates anything that harms its master – no, its daughter, without exception.

The modified divine armament that had only the emotion of [Fatherly Love] forcibly installed by an inhumane group of scientists without human hearts was unleashed at the worst possible timing.

“This is bad.”

I tried to quickly give Haruka instructions, but it was too late.

No, in this case, their movements were too fast.

In a flash of lightning speed, the situation surrounding the fifteenth floor underwent a dramatic shift.

First, the beast incorporated Jupiter into its own body.

Not predation.

The purpose of that act was the opposite

  • protection.

It attempted to guard its daughter from all outside threats by taking her into the strongest existing being here.

Regrettable, but Jupiter’s safety is now at least guaranteed.

If it ended here, that would be a great relief, but no such luck.

The manifested lightning patriarch’s defensive instinct would not stop there.

“WOOOOOOO!”

Next, the wondrous bird’s desperate fireball was crushed underfoot.

As easily as a giant construction vehicle crushing a lit match,

the “Rain-Covering Wondrous Bird’s” last attack was extinguished with a single stomp of the foreleg – an overwhelming gap in fighting power.

I feel bad for Kamak, but the players are too mismatched.

“AWOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!”

And then the culprit was punished.

The moment it let out that second roar, all the black lightning falling from the sky transformed into guided projectiles.

The rumbling thunderbolts devoured their hated foe that had targeted its daughter.

Every single piece of flesh of what was once called Kamak was burnt to dust by the furious thunderfire.

Raging atmospherics, a rampaging earth.

It would not be an overstatement to call the calamity that continued venting its “fury” even after the culprit’s demise a cataclysm.

It is a big, big beast.

The massive beast easily surpassing the size of a large truck, its grotesque form seemingly combining the features of every carnivore.

If not for its upright jet-black coat of fur and profuse emanating black lightning, it could almost pass for a ferocious quadruped…maybe not.

Like hell a vicious creature like that would exist in a zoo.

“……You’ve done it now, lightning dad.”

I really didn’t want to meet you like this.

Because that means we failed to protect her…no no, now’s not the time to wallow in self-pity that won’t accomplish anything productive.

“Haruka, intercept the black lightning from above while coming over here! And you, standby behind me!”

“Got it!”

There was no room for idle banter in the face of this urgent about-face.

We ran through the battlefield of black lightning rain and joined up, immediately taking up defensive positions.

“I’ll deflect frontal attacks with [Four-Dimensional Defense]. Haruka, defend against strikes from above with [Soukun]. As self-defense, make sure to guard your ears with [Armor Reinforcement] and [Shock Absorption]. Any questions so far?”

“Commander, no attacks are coming from the front!”

“Better to be prepared than caught off guard.”

“Certainly!”

Having convinced Haruka with that sort of cliché line, I immediately redeployed [Four-Dimensional Defense]. The world turned monochrome, and my body transitioned to its four-dimensional state.

For enhanced guarding, I took up an overhead diagonal stance with my greatsword-form Ekkexacchus, getting ready first.

My apologies, Haruka.

The frontal attack will come shortly.

For that is Keraunos’ favorite art, you see.

Look there. Immense spiritual power is gathering around its maw.

The concentrating jet-black lightning. The lightning patriarch lowers its stance, that great maw aimed directly at us.

And the moment its spiritual power reaches critical mass, the monochrome world is swallowed in blackness.

A black lightning breath unleashed to annihilate all living things.

The lightning patriarch has no discernment.

From the moment its daughter experiences shock or stress, it is indiscriminate slaughter.

[My, what a toxic parent you have there.]

A graceful beautiful voice resounds within my mind filled with the four-dimensional principle.

Undoubtedly, it is Lady Al.

[Rather than toxic parent, I feel monster parent or “monpe” is more accurate, personally.]

[Monpe. Ah yes, the abbreviation for monster parent, correct. Hmm. For once, you make a strikingly accurate remark, Master.]

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Her usual poisoned tongue.

However, even the vile goddess’ insults were welcome in this situation.

The world of [Four-Dimensional Defense] is a lonely one.

No sound, monochrome vision.

And now, thanks to that lightning patriarch, what little whiteness remained has mostly vanished.

In this state ruled by utter blackened silence, being able to converse with someone is truly reassuring.

Just me and Al, the two of us alone.

So I voiced the regressive thoughts I cannot say before my comrades.

[I failed.]

Despite giving Jupiter such a harsh lecture yesterday, here I am in this sorry state.

I truly feel pathetic and disgusted with myself.

[If we somehow make it through this, what can I even say to her?]

The duration of the [Manifestation] skill that gives spirit beasts physical form is not particularly long.

Factoring in the indiscriminate area bombardment from above and the massive black lightning breath’s repeated use, its [Manifestation] likely has just minutes remaining.

With my current [Four-Dimensional Defense] further enhanced through dungeon experience and the life-or-death battle with Mr. Sillard, the odds of outlasting it are quite high.

However, that would only be a temporary reprieve.

Even if I endure this time, once it has replenished its spiritual power and Jupiter’s stress builds up again, it will bare its fangs once more.

And if that happens, Jupiter will undoubtedly blame herself even more.

If she blames herself, her stress will naturally accumulate further.

If that stress accumulates, the lightning patriarch will become even more active.

It’s a vicious cycle, isn’t it?

[You’ll be fine, Master.]

[No, nothing is fine at all! My shallow words can’t wipe away her tears. Even gaining a cheat ability, failing to protect a single girl’s smile…why am I so pathetically weak!]

Though I knew it was just venting, my heart still raged unsightly.

I understand. It’s all because of my own weakness.

Damn it, if only I had better long-range aptitude…!

[Yes. That’s it, Master.]

[?]

Al’s voice echoing in my thoughts.

My frayed mind raised a question mark at her seemingly unrelated affirmation.

Just what was “that” referring to?

[Because your own power is immature, you ended up hurting a party member – so you curse yourself, and she too will suffer the same hurt from now on. In which case, the words you should offer are obvious. Give her the very consolation you yourself desire right now. That way, unnecessary conflict can be avoided.]

It was an eye-opening word.

An incredibly thoughtful suggestion from a mouth that usually only spews insults.

[Fortunately, you still have a little time left to ponder. Desperately consider the words to give that wounded girl.]

[Ah…yes, that’s right.]

Taking a deep breath while gazing into the blackened world.

…..Ah, I feel a bit calmer now.

Perhaps I can come up with a somewhat better idea like this.

While restraining my rising emotions, I firmly envision Jupiter.

The foreign girl who has been tormented by the terror of constantly hurting someone due to the lightning patriarch’s rampages.

The guilty anguish and frustration of hurting someone through one’s own lack of power – I understand that feeling acutely now.

Even so, you have been working so hard to move forward.

Even though you were still just a little kid, you worked hard on your own without bothering anyone… Ah, damn! It’s crazy that someone who’s trying so hard isn’t getting rewarded in this world!

Your family, society, and even the spirits – no one is treating you as an equal human being!

…… Kids are not toys!

Why did no one recognize how remarkable you are?

Why didn’t they make a place for you?

Why couldn’t they believe in you until the end?

In the world of the past, Jupiter took the hand of [organization] not because she was in dire straits.

It’s because she had always been all alone.

Sold by her parents, turned into an experimental subject for evil researchers, and treated like a nuisance even in the foreign land she reached… If a devil appeared to whisper “You’ve done nothing wrong” in a situation like that, anyone would want to cling to it, right?

If there had just been one person who could have been her support, she probably wouldn’t have ended up that way.

But why…?

[…I see.]

A piece in my head clicked into place.

It felt like a small light had been lit in the black-dyed world.

So it was such a simple thing, huh.

The thing I was worried about was just silly, wasn’t it?

That’s right. If she doesn’t have a place to belong, then we just have to make one for her.

[…Al. I found the words I need to say.]

[Let’s hear them.]

And so I began to weave the conclusion I had reached.

[I will—]


◆ Dungeon City Sakuraka – 336th Dungeon [Eternal Darkness] Midpoint

Keraunos tyranny ended a little while after that.

Probably because the duration of her [Manifestation] skill ran out. When she let out a final roar and disappeared, I was honestly relieved.

After all, we were pretty much at our limit too. Including the backlash of the spells, we probably wouldn’t have lasted more than 10 more seconds, really.

You shouldn’t make rookie players fight boss characters in a row without saves, geez.

[Yay! We had such an amazing experience, us!]

Haruka seemed delighted.

That they could be this positive despite what happened is, without exaggeration, a talent.

However, it seemed the battle was also intense for Haruka, as a hint of fatigue was visible in her sun-like smile.

I didn’t miss that when she proactively went to carry the unconscious Jupiter.

I wanted to lighten Haruka’s fatigue even a little bit.

“Kyou-san is so kind, isn’t he?”

Haruka smiles at me as if she can see through everything, and I say “Shut up” to her weakly as she passed through the portal gate.

In the end, everyone made it out with no major injuries.

Looking at it overall, this adventure can be called a success.

“It’s not just a success, it’s a huge success!”

Haruka said that while receiving the passionate hospitality of the ploopy star people.

“New comrades, revenge against a powerful foe, and achieving the deepest record! There’s nothing we can’t be proud of, Kyou-san!”

Bathed in the campfire light, Haruka’s profile was more beautiful than any starry sky.

Ah, really. Being with her just fills me with energy.

You’re the best, you know.

“Hey, Haruka. I have something I’d like to discuss about the future, if you don’t mind?”

“If it’s a proposal to ostracize Jupiter-chan, I’ll firmly oppose it, you know.”

Her sapphire-like eyes raised slightly.

If her hands weren’t full of marshmallow skewers, it would have been a striking sight.

“No, it’s the opposite. I want to talk about how we can make sure she doesn’t end up alone.”

“Then I’d love to hear it.”

I explained the gist of it to Haruka and the gathered Yalda 336 group.

“Yup! I think that’s a great idea. As expected, Kyou-san is amazing!”

[I don’t really get it, but we’ll support you too!]

While the ploopy star people were cheerfully frolicking, getting Haruka’s approval was a stroke of luck.

“Alright, then the rest is…”

I looked towards the wooden bed made a little away from the fireplace.

The silver-haired girl was lying on the brand new bed the ploopy star people had made.

I’m sorry, Jupiter.

I selfishly consumed the time for agonizing.

So the turn for your clouding won’t come from now on.

Just try not to get dizzy from the rapid developments, kukekekeke.


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