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Published at 1st of January 2020 01:32:31 PM

Chapter 98

Chapter 98: Lurking in the Deep


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Today, we’re continuing Rando-san’s basic training, this time with Yoshizaki-san as the guard .

Having convinced Tendo-kun to wait, I was also having both Nonomiya-san and Yoshizaki-san participate in their friend’s training, but not for free . Using the circumstances, I had prepared adequate compensation for their cooperation, and that is, the chance to spend alone time with Tendo-kun, perhaps getting lucky enough to make him notice them a little .

Both of them are serious about Tendo-kun . And if you like someone, you’d of course want to spend some quality time with them . However, as it stands, they almost always have 3rd wheelers around; other party members such as me or Rando-san, and most importantly, their mutual greatest love rival . In conclusion, they saw the chance where they could be naturally left alone with Tendo-kun, and they pounced on it .

 

In other words, I’m quietly having Tendo-kun be the bait while making the Glamourettes take turns acting as bodyguards only as a pretext so that they can reap their individual rewards .

And thus, yesterday we had Nonomiya-san as guard and today, it’s Yoshizaki-san’s turn .

“Oh wow, Kyoko, you’re actually doing it!”

“Heheh, not some useless deadweight now, am I?”

“Nope, you’ll be great help! I’m so sorry I treated you like that!”

“Apology accepted . ”

A quick demonstration of Rando-san’s Tera Sagitta, rock bullets that boasted the power of rifle rounds, piercing zombie heads was enough to have Yoshizaki-san also acknowledge her newfound strength .

Now finally, I suppose I can safely call the friendship between the Glamourettes and Rando-san, rekindled .

 

“Let’s try shooting some jiras today . ” I said .

“Sure . ” agreed Rando-san .

“I bet Kyoko’s gonna have a field day with those fish-faces . ”

While I always lean on the side of caution, I can’t help but agree with Yoshizaki-san’s statement of confidence .

We spotted jiras lazing around at the edge of their pools and like an elite sniper, Rando-san Tera Sagitta’d them efficiently, and without issue . Unlike the rotten, and consequently softer bodied zombies, jiras had their packed in tough muscles with an additional armor of scales, all of which didn’t pose any trouble at all, as Rando-san’s fast and powerful rounds devastated them regardless .

 

“Great . Now let’s try to take on a pack of them . ” Perhaps getting a little ahead of ourselves, I proposed trying to take on a group . We had found a school of 10 jiras, blissfully unaware of what will soon befall them .

And before they snapped out of their stupor and began running toward us in retaliation, we had already culled their numbers by a fair amount―― by the time they arrived at the combination of walls and spikes set up as basic defensive measures, they’d been reduced to a mere four .

Considering that they had to deal with Nonomiya-san, who displayed no inadequacy in her Warrior capabilities, Rem, who was at last strong enough to be considered a decent match against someone possessing a calling, and lastly, my adept usage of tentacles for delay tactics, the fish-faces’ loss was all but guaranteed .

 

“Damn, Kyoko, I didn’t think having you would make it this easy . You just need the time, and you could’ve handled all of them . ”

“Sure, but I’m screwed if they get too close . ”

“Oh relax∼ that’s where we come in to the rescue . ”

To make sure that Rando-san didn’t commit the sad mishap of friendly fire, we forbade her to shoot any Tera Sagitta while any melee fighters were in action . Nonomiya-san is strong enough to handle this level of danger without the need for support magic .

Plus, Rando-san is still very much a noob when it comes to live combat . Whether or not she can judge if the vanguard is in danger and act accordingly is up for debate . From what I’ve been seeing, both Yoshizaki-san and Nonomiya-san can naturally perform the various subtleties of combat such as feints or letting the enemy attack first to create an opening . Having the still green Rando-san hurriedly shoot spells when they’re in the fray can be very dangerous .

As such, while we take care of stragglers, Rando-san is in charge of having an eye behind us . Although, we haven’t had jiras suddenly calling in reinforcements or attacking in tactical formations as of yet . Their brains must be as bad as those of their goma counterparts .

 

“Huh, I guess they drop cores more often than gomas at least . ” I of course didn’t neglect the gory job of collecting cores; I had Rem do that for me . Sure, I could try to do it myself, but I’m very much lacking in skill when it comes to musclework . In fact, I’d be needlessly wearing out our knives . Having Rem do it is just more practical .

Rem looked similar to Mei-chan with her precise cuts into the jira corpses and speedy collection of cores . She also made sure to pick up the better looking weapons and bring them to me for checking . Honestly, Rem’s grown so much not only in her combat prowess, but even in the more subdued daily tasks of dungeon survival . It’s a sight to behold .

 

“Oh, this spear is pretty nice . ” Let’s give this to Rando-san . I know it doesn’t suit a mage, but she should still carry something . I’ll have her keep it as good luck . I mean, I’d rather have her carrying a proper mage staff, but it doesn’t look like we’ll be encountering any treasure boxes in this place .

Until either of us get appropriate staffs for our magical uses, Rando-san and I will have to equip a spear as a minimum of self-defense . And I was just about to do so when,

 


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“Ah, Momokawa!”

“Huh, what, what happened?”

Rando-san suddenly turned to me with a serious expression . Maybe she’ll say something along the lines of not wanting to hold something so slimy and disgusting as a jira’s spear .

“I just learned a new spell!”

“You did? Awesome!”

Rando-san is getting stronger at blazing speed, and though I’m genuinely happy for her, I’m also extremely jealous .


 

We had Rando-san practice that new spell some and then returned to the fairy square before too long .

“Momokawa, did Rando really get stronger?” was the first thing I heard from Tendo-kun who had been patiently waiting for me to show results .

“Yep . Thanks for waiting for us . Now, Rando-san can do the job of a mage pretty well . ”

“That’s good… . Alright, we’ll head out once you guys get some rest . ”

“Thanks, I’ll let everyone know . ”

 

It’d barely been a day, but it was a rich and productive day . Rando-san is now in possession of much more impressive firepower than I could even hope for, and her abilities as a geomancer easily surpassed all expectations .

It’s things like this that let me have a brighter outlook on our journey into the depths .

 

“Time to go . ” signalled Tendo-kun .

Using our 1 hour break, I got all of my things in order, and we were ready to leave the fairy square within the wetlands .

Tendo-kun had already surveyed our route, and with him leading, we were headed on a straight path to our destination . The rest of us had also spent a day running around this area, so we knew the lay of the land to a decent degree . Which is how I know that we’re on a direct course to the area proceeding this one .

We passed through a small wood and got to the very center of this wetlands where lay its largest swamp . We had not one encounter along the way, and after arriving here I understood why .

 

“Crap, there’s a whole army of them! Don’t tell me they’re ambushing us!?”

There were approximately 100 jira’s waiting for us there . They all had some form of weaponry and looked poised to attack at any moment . If we were to keep marching as we are, we’ll definitely provoke them into piling on us with those bloodshot, fatty fish eyes .

 

“Yeah, this looks pretty bad . Marie?”

“Same . ”

“So, do I start shooting?”

“No, you don’t, stupid!”

“It’s crazy trying to take on that many with just us!”

I didn’t even have to intervene as the Glamourettes chastised their friend’s lack of danger awareness in plain language . I’m glad to see them getting along, honestly .

But we still need to deal with the main issue . We need to pass through here in order to get to the next part of this zone . But letting Tendo-kun curbstomp so many of them will still take time . And if even half of their numbers get past him and attack us…

 

“Tendo-kun, let’s withdraw for now and come back with a better pla―― wait, come back!” Tendo-kun acted as if the necessity of my words were completely null and void, walking forward alone like he always does .

“G y o a ! !”

“G y o g y o e e !”

The jira army, of course recognizing Tendo-kun as a target of their hostility, wailed in rage . Great, now we have to fight!


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I determined myself to face whatever would come, and that’s when,

 

“ ―― Outta my way . ” I seemed to hear Tendo-kun mumble something in irritation, before I saw a huge brightness along with the explosion that caused it .

A grand pillar of water rose from the shallows of the large pool where most of the jiras were gathered . Then, there was an even larger pillar of red . A massive explosion . Just the scale of that thing ensured that any jira around had been met with disaster . As the humongous splash of water rained back down, it carried with it severed arms and legs and other bits of body parts .

 

“Th-that’s… fire magic . . . ” I muttered as I saw that floating on in front of Tendo-kun’s hand was a large, roaring fireball . Its size was larger than that of a basketball and when he made a slight motion of throwing, the mass of red flew off like a speeding arrow―― inevitably causing another massive explosion .

Witnessing the sheer magnitude of the magic attack, rather than think it was simple pyromancy, I automatically pictured . . . dragon breath . This, this has to be the true power possessed by the legendary beast whose red scales Rem now wears at her chest .

 

“G y o a a a !”

“A a a a !”

Two massive explosions later, the number of jiras didn’t seem that much of a big deal anymore . Their strategy of flocking together had resulted in their downfall, now only a dozen or so of them remain .

Even their goma-tier brains could take the hint that they were no match for the monstrous strength of Tendo-kun, and they dove back into the water to flee without any delay .

 

“You guys must be tired of fighting the same fish-fucks all the time . We don’t have time for that . ” Tendo-kun said with a quick glance back at us, before continuing on his way like nothing had happened .

“Damn, Tendo-kun looks so hot when he does that . ”

“Preach it, girl . ”

The Glamourettes followed after him, all smiles like they’d fallen in love even deeper .

 

“ . . . Hey, Momokawa?”

“What is it, Rando-san?”

“Is my magic really going to be useful?”

“Sure it is . ” I affirmed Rando-san, imagining that she might’ve grown something resembling pride toward her new powers only to have them see no action in an actual fight .

My advice for her is to stop comparing herself to Tendo-kun, period .

He’s the guy who, back home, was in equal terms with Souma Yuuto, the Hero . The pair were sort of like hero figures for a lot of our classmates too . Tendo-kun’s calling is still a mystery to me, but it doesn’t lose out to a Hero, that’s for sure .

 

After that, we went across more sewer tunnels and another small wetlands before the scenery changed… gradually, the passages had become less sewer-like, and more akin to natural caves . Actually, as it is now, it just looks like a cave with a channel of water running through . The rough, untouched walls remind me of the not very swell time I had in the insect caves some time back .

 

“Whew, this is it . ” Tendo-kun said blowing out a breath . “Made us walk so damn long, this better be worth it . ”

The long tunnel ended into a huge underground space . And if we go by Tendo-kun’s words, we’ve made it to our destination, that is, the boss room .

 

“This looks like… an underground lake . ” I muttered . It’s similar to the rook spider’s nest, a giant underground cavity, but this one’s much bigger . And in the middle of this expanse lay a circular lake, a body of water so large, it’s as if the loch ness monster might come out of it .

I can’t say if it’s manmade or naturally formed, but the eerie yet somehow sublime scene made all of us hold our breath in awe .

 

“That way . Let’s go . ” Except Tendo-kun that is . He didn’t look at all wary of traps as he walked imposingly toward the lake where our magic compasses were all pointing .

 

“Look Momokawa,” pointed Rando-san, “there in the middle, that tiny island . It sort of looks like a magic circle . ”

“Yeah, I think you’re right . ”


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Like she just described, smack-dab in the middle of the great lake, there is a small, circular island . We can’t confirm it from here, but it’s not hard to imagine that the whole thing is the platform for the zone transfer circle . Actually, didn’t the giant frog boss room have a similar setup?

“And that looks like a lighthouse, kind of . ”

“It does . ”

A small tower stood at the center of the island . That has to be part of the dungeon ruins, any way I look at it .

The magic circle might actually be inside that tower instead . Then again, I’m probably worrying too much . Transfer circles are never actually hidden, so we’ll find it once we get there .

 

Large rocks lay riddled around the perimeter of the lake, and it took us more than 5 minutes to walk around them all and reach the water .

There was a path to the island . An aged stone bridge, but it could handle our weight just fine . So, while we had made it to the island without incident――

 

“There you are . ” just as Tendo-kun said that, I heard a crash of water and saw a pillar of it rise from behind the tower, ushering the arrival of a huge something .

This creature that rose from the depths was a giant crocodile… or so it seemed at a glance, but it was standing on two legs, giving off a vaguely humanoid resemblance, so maybe I should call it a lizardman?

This crocodile based lizardman had a stout body with short limbs that were as thick as logs . Like the jiras, it also had webbed digits and was clearly an aquatic monster . Well duh, it came out of the lake just now .

 

“Whoa, that things freaking huge!?”

“I, I don’t think we can . . . ”

“Nope, we’re no match . ”

The reactions from Nonomiya-san, Yoshizaki-san and Rando-san spoke volumes of the intimidating size of the croco-lizardman boss . It’s more than twice the size of an armorbear, and that’s saying something . The thing’s a freaking kaiju alright .

The scales covering its massive frame were also plus sized . The thick, indigo blue scales shone with a metallic sheen which, honestly, I don’t think my Rotten Bog would have any effect against . I also doubt if Rando-san’s Tera Sagittas can break through .

 

“You guys can’t help with this one, so stay out of the way . I’ll take this guy . ”

“Roger, will do!” I gratefully assented to Tendo-kun counting us out of the fight . This is clearly not something we can handle, and we might even hold him back if we were to try . Worst case, we could get caught in the crossfire and just die .

I mean, look at the fucking size of that thing . It could literally bite me in half with room to spare .

 

“I’ve been itching for a good boss fight… let’s see if you have what it takes, Crokey . ” He said while summoning his red bastard sword, upon which Tendo-kun practically burst toward the boss . He moved incredibly fast, so fast that I couldn’t even follow him with my eyes when he was clearly moving in a straight line to the enemy .

 

Grhaaa a a a a a ! ! !

 

A deep, thundering, guttural roar escaped from the croc boss’ jaws as it prepared to battle its much smaller foe .

“What the-!?” I let out .

Another blast occurred right as Tendo-kun collided with the kaiju . Did he just use that super explosive fireball at point blank range? That’s suicidal . No wait, maybe he has powers that nullifies fire damage entirely?

I had to cover my face from the resulting hot wind, and when I looked back a moment later, both man and monster were out of sight .

And just as how the croco-boss had come, what was left was a rising pillar of water .

 

“No way, Tendo-kun fell in!?”

“Oh no no, this is bad, real bad!!”

The Glamourettes were shocked . I felt the same; How is Tendo-kun supposed to win against that thing under the freaking water? Humans can’t move as well in water as they can on land, that’s obvious . He might have a huge sword, but it sure as hell won’t let him float .

“Tendo-kun!” And I was worried too . I kept staring at the place he should’ve went under――

 

“So you can’t go full power out of water, eh?”

Tendo-kun was there, standing atop the water’s surface .

Am I actually seeing this? Am I to believe that there’s a skill for water walking?

 

“Fine, show me what you’re really made of!”

Saying that, he kicked off the lake surface and dove in . From here, I could only see a huge shadow under the water, no doubt it’s the boss’, twisting and turning its body with bizarre dexterity .

 

“Err, okay guys, let’s let Tendo-kun do that then . ”

He’d gone into the water of his own will, meaning to fight the beast on its home turf . With his range of abilities, underwater battle just might be viable . And I’m sure he has some confidence to win since he’s going that far .

I can’t believe I was actually worried . It’s kind of ridiculous at this point .

“I’m okay with that . ” Rando-san agreed .

 

“Yep, I knew Tendo-kun would be fine!”

“Totally, Tendo-kun won’t lose to some overgrown lizard!”

And the other two made excuses .

 

At present, Tendo-kun and the croco-boss must be having an epic underwater showdown . I could hear frequent booms happening from under the lake which caused the surface to ripple in waves .

Yeah, none of my business . We all agree that it’s best to leave that part to Tendo-kun, and like he said, we should make ourselves small at a corner so as to not get in the way .

And I wanted to do that . I really did .

 

But then I heard g y o o, and g y o !, and even g y o a a ! Very familiar noises . So familiar as of late, that I’m sick of them .

“Jiras!?”

I didn’t even need to look to know what had appeared . But looking anyway, the blue fishmen had started gathering at the far shores of the lake . And they were everywhere, climbing over the obstructing rocks, they encompassed the full circumference of the lake . Their numbers were massive, far more than the army Tendo-kun blasted away earlier . 200, 300, I couldn’t even count .

 

“Shit, why now, how come there’s still so many . . . ”

“Mo-Momokawa, what do we do!? This is bad, we’re so fucked!”

Yes, that’s right Rando-san . We’re fucked .

It might seem as if they appeared to help the boss, but the reason doesn’t matter . They’ve set their eyes on us now, and they’re much too close for comfort . Rather than despair, we need to think of a means to avoid dying pronto .

 

“Oh god, there’s even more than last time! This is crazy!”

“Momokawa, figure something out already!”

You’re asking me… first of all, I don’t have a clue as to how long Tendo-kun’s going to take in there . He might instakill the kaiju and come save us right away or he might take his time enjoying the fight to the fullest . And from his parting words, the chances are weighed heavier on the latter .

 

Plus, chances are that since he’s underwater, he hasn’t even noticed our dire situation on the surface, and I can’t expect him to do so anytime soon either .

Which basically means that we have to defend ourselves from waves of armed jiras, at least for a while .

“We need to get to that tower! We’ll hole up in there best we can until Tendo-kun comes back!”

The jira horde had already began their descent upon us, and we ran at full tilt to the tower, our only hope of resistance .



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