Before the tutorial begins chapter 43

Chapter 43 – The Thunder Beast and the Dreaming Girl 4

◆ Romance Workshop [Rari-Rari]

“Big brother, I’m so happy you kept your promise. Thank you for buying me so many things!”

“No, no, it’s me who should be thanking you. You gave me such a good deal; I really appreciate it.”

After thanking the old owner of the baby cap shop, I leave the accessory store.

Thanks to buying all sorts of items, I ended up spending quite a bit, but oh well.

With the high-spec accessories I got, they should be worth the price and perform well.

This place really does have great quality products, that’s for sure.

As long as you can handle the hefty prices and the eccentric staff, [Rari-Rari] is quite the excellent store.

It’s no exaggeration to say that the next battle against [Keraunos] depends on how powerful of an equipment setup I can prepare.

If I prioritize performance, [Rari-Rari] is the clear choice.

Well, now that I’ve obtained most of what I need and received the new detachable combat logic from Glen, it’s time to bid farewell to this den of eccentrics.

Farewell, my beloved maniacs. The next time we meet will be with Glen alone.

Filled with the joy of being liberated from the maniacs,

I happily step out of the gates of [Rari-Rari], basking in the fresh outdoor air.

“Hey there, Kyouichirou.

How have you been?”

A call from Szilard came as I was on my way back.

“Good to hear from you, Szilard-san. It’s been a while.”

The conversation started with polite small talk, almost like a dance of subtle probing and observation.

After a few minutes of this, Szilard got to the point and invited me to meet up.

A sudden love call from the wielder of the “Burning Ice Sword”.

Of course, I eagerly agreed.

How could I pass up such a rare event as a true-blue Dungeon Magi fan?

◆ Steakhouse [Dona Dona Donald]

At the designated restaurant, I found Szilard elegantly enjoying a thick slab of sirloin steak.

“Ah, Kyouichirou! I’m so glad we could meet again!”

Szilard let out a hearty laugh as he speared the juicy meat with his fork, his face adorned with a refreshing smile.

What a handsome man, with the steak sauce dripping down his chin.

Damn, good-looking people can pull off anything; it’s so frustrating. I feel a slight flutter in my heart.

“It’s an honor to see you again. So, what was the purpose of this meeting?”

“Before that, let’s get something to eat first. Order whatever you like; it’s on me.”

“Ah, thank you very much.”

Prompted by Szilard, I ordered a steak lunch set and savored the exquisite thick steak.

Having a private steakhouse all to ourselves in the middle of the day? This was the ultimate luxury.

“Looks like you’re enjoying it.”

“Yes! It’s so tender and delicious, even with the thickness!”

The Japanese-style sauce made with apple and onion was also a perfect complement.

I usually prefer my steak with grated daikon and ponzu, but this might just change my preferences.

“The owner of this place is actually from the United States. He’s a pioneer who established a hybrid brand, offering authentic American-style steaks with flavors tailored to the imperial nation’s tastes.”

I see. Now that he mentions it, the flavors do seem to cater perfectly to the imperial citizens’ preferences.

It’s not just the Japanese-style sauce, but the side dishes and seasoning spices are also imbued with a distinct Japanese flair while still retaining the robust essence of the original American cuisine.

It’s a truly well-crafted masterpiece that brings joy with every bite.

The more you chew, the happier you will be.

“No wonder this place is so successful.”

“Hahaha, I agree. The owner’s ability to cater to the customers’ needs, the skilled culinary techniques, and most importantly, the tolerant climate of this nation, have all contributed to its prosperity.”

Tolerant climate?

Was that a slip of the tongue?

“Tolerant, you say?”

“You seem surprised.”

Of course, I was taken aback.

I never expected to hear such words from Szilard, a representative of a foreign nation.

“As an ignorant child’s rambling goes, I feel this nation is far too strict towards foreigners and other ethnicities.”

“Every country is equally strict towards foreigners. If anything, the Empire is considered one of the more progressive nations among advanced countries.”

“What’s the basis for that?”

As Szilard wiped his mouth with a paper napkin, he replied.

“As a foreigner myself, I’ve been recognized as a prominent figure in the one of the most famous dungeon cities in the Imperial Kingdom. And this restaurant owned by another foreigner is also thriving, receiving proper recognition. Moreover, we can pay taxes under the same system as imperial citizens, so it’s quite a favorable arrangement. In my homeland, we’d be subjected to much heavier taxes just for being foreigners.”

Szilard chuckled lightly as he recounted this weighty anecdote.

I see, so that’s how it is.

In the game, the negative aspects of the Empire’s foreign policies were always emphasized, so I had a biased perception. But it seems my understanding was rather skewed.

Even so, Kyouichirou’s words about the strict side of things are certainly true. Especially when it comes to foreign-born individuals who have even once slipped through the cracks of the law – the Imperial Nation does not show them any mercy… You understand that, don’t you?

” …… Yes “


It is black and white.

As long as they serve as members of the Imperial Nation, they must behave as good neighbors. But if they make even the slightest mistake, they will be regarded as spies or terrorists and punished mercilessly – for foreigners, there is no gray area.

Jupiter was in a dangerous place. Even a small wound, or if they accumulated too much stress, the ferocious beast within them would rage – despite their pitiful past, to act in concert with them would be a risk too great for us, as an unpredictable bomb that could explode at any moment.

This sentiment may have even been a form of confession.

It contained the deep regret and dissatisfaction of a man who could never manage to save a young girl.

Jupiter’s “outbursts” during dungeon raids were not rare occurrences. Many party members had been caught up in the beast’s attacks and suffered no small wounds.

And yet, Jupiter’s “outbursts” never became public knowledge.

Why was that?

So you were sheltering her, weren’t you?

It’s not such a noble matter. We simply feared that her crimes would also ripple back to our side. Even if we were accused of a cover-up, we couldn’t refute it.

That’s a lie.

If they truly prioritized their own interests, they should have turned Jupiter over to the police as the victim immediately.

Engaging in a cover-up would only add unnecessary risk if it was exposed.

And yet, the fact that Szilard and the others had sheltered Jupiter for two years meant that this was not the case.

I’ve always wondered about it. Why did Szilard take such a high-risk, high-return gamble against us newcomers that day?

At first, I thought it was just a spur-of-the-moment idea.

I figured he was trying to add some appropriate tension to the match and draw out our true efforts.

But looking back on it now, that was far too naive.

Szilard had probably envisioned this scenario long before, if not even before we met.

Szilard winning would have forced us to join the “Burning Ice Sword” party and clear the 10th floor, while us winning would have him providing us with his handpicked artillery support. I completely missed the fact that it was essentially the same outcome either way.

Winning or losing, we would end up teaming up with the “Burning Ice Sword” members.

The ruse of clearing the 10th floor made me misjudge the situation, but once I realized it, it was nothing remarkable.

That gathering and mock battle were essentially a test to find a suitable party to entrust Jupiter to.

I now understand why Szilard challenged us to an honest, straightforward battle without using any divine revelations or traps. On that day, he was [Keraunos], wasn’t he?

The overwhelming firepower of his attacks and the machine gun-like barrage of energy projectiles were certainly powerful.

But with my [Four-Dimensional Defense] and Haruka’s energy-based specialization, we could have overcome that wall.

Knowing this, the reason Szilard persisted in an honest magical battle was likely to assess whether we could withstand the savagery of [Keraunos].

His casual inquiries about [Aokuu]’s specs during the pre-match tea were also quite shrewd.

What would he have done if we had failed the test?

He probably would have just said the bet was a joke.

When the winner offers to forgive the loser’s debt, the loser usually agrees without hesitation.

That beast is formidable. Unless one is a true master capable of directly overpowering me, they would be unable to even step onto the battlefield against it.

Szilard’s assessment of [Keraunos] was unfortunately accurate.

It’s a monster that even the top-tier clans of Sakuraba can’t control.

Relying on the other five major clans…

If we had built the kind of relationship where that was possible, we would have united into a single clan long ago.

…I see.

The five major clans each have their own distinct characteristics.

For example, the “Burning Ice Sword” is an organization of mutual aid for foreigners, while others are gatherings of diverse races.

With five equally powerful organizations holding different beliefs, an invisible power dynamic naturally arises –

territorial disputes, political maneuverings, and deception.

There is no concept of selfless mutual assistance in this web of sparking relationships.

A party that could not only control [Keraunos], which even the “Burning Ice Sword” couldn’t handle, but also remained outside the influence of the five major clans –

the conditions Szilard had to meet in seeking a host for Jupiter were, to put it bluntly, unreasonable.

“Meeting you all was a miracle, a priceless miracle.”

A miracle, huh.

Well, that’s true.

In reality, this party doesn’t exist in the original work.

And the one in the world where the miracle didn’t happen… no, let’s not go there.

We’re having this discussion now to prevent that kind of future from coming to pass.

“Kyouichiro, who possesses the power of absolute defense, and Haruka, who wields the power to cleave energy. Your two existences have lit a beacon of hope in my wavering heart.”

Even though we’re not affiliated with the Five Great Clans, there was a risk that the unsavory “Burning Ice Sword” scandal could spread if we had taken in Jupiter, who has baggage.

And yet, Szilard entrusted us with Jupiter, aware of the risks.

I can’t accurately gauge the depth of feelings behind that decision.

But when the head of one of the Five Great Clans places this much expectation and trust in us, we can’t simply choose the “flee” command.

“I’m not sure if I can fully live up to Szilard’s feelings, but I’ll do whatever I can.”

“Do you have any chance of success?”

“I have a plan. The key now is how much I can refine that winning move into something highly reliable.”

At my words, the silver-haired man’s eyes widen.

“Could you tell me the details?”

“Yes, as for the plan, first…”

And the expression of surprise gradually transforms into a joyful smile, ultimately culminating in the customary “Hahaha!”

“To have crafted such a remarkable strategy in this short time! Fascinating! A truly intriguing endeavor, Kyouichiro!”

“It’s quite a tightrope walk, though. Realistically, it’ll have to be just Haruka and me in action.”

Fighting that thunder father means we can’t rely on Jupiter’s power.

Of course, we’ve factored that in when formulating the strategy, but as a result, the importance of each individual has skyrocketed.

Honestly, if either Haruka or I get injured, it’s game over for sure at that point.

That’s why we have to carry out the “Keraunos” Subjugation Operation without a single scratch.

Trying to take on the thunder father, who’s two steps above the Grim Reaper, with zero mistakes and zero damage – I must be out of my mind, right?

But if we take a direct hit from those miasmic thunderbolts, we’re done for, not just in combat.

We have to approach it with the awareness that getting hit equals instant death. Otherwise, we’ll be taken out unceremoniously.

It’s either a resounding victory or total annihilation.

The outcome of the “Keraunos” battle will undoubtedly be dramatic, whichever way it goes.

“Then allow me to take on that burden.”

For a moment, I didn’t understand what he was saying.

“I’m sorry, I don’t quite follow what you mean.”

“I’m asking to be part of your plan. How about using this James-Szilard as your trump card, hmm?”

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