Chapter 1 – Exile and Zamaa(This is an offensive expression similar to “you reap what you sow”)
I longed for her.
In the dungeon, which was dimly lit, she cut down a demon twice her size with a single sword, with her long, waist-length hair that still shone brightly.
I was no match for the creature, but she cut it down as if it was nothing.
I was in awe of that scene.
I long to be like that beautiful, maybe even horrifying sight.
I want to be that kind of explorer someday, and I want to be able to fight such beautiful battles.
I wanted to fight as if I were watching a beautiful dance as if petals were falling.
But I didn’t have the talent.
I was ostracized, fired, and ridiculed for my incompetence.
So I gave up on that dream once.
Still, I want to try one more time, one last time.
For my family, for my sister, for money.
And above all, for myself.
That is why I am going to try one more time.
To work in that exciting world.
My dream of being a dungeon explorer.
“Everyone! Happy New Year!”
A well-known TV presenter wished the New Year with a conventional greeting.
Behind her is a nice middle-aged man, a nice guy with a beard that doesn’t fit the variety show.
A man who looks like a mercenary sits down.
“Today, we have invited the most powerful man in Japan or even the world! He is the leader of the guild [yoi no myōjō(evening star)], Tendo Ryunosuke-san!”
The man who was introduced with a crackle and a clap did not move at all.
However, the man slowly opens those eyes that had been closed.
His eyes were sharp, and even through the TV, they were like those of a hawk aiming at its prey.
“Tendou-san! Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to come here today!”
“No, it’s my job too…”
His low voice was not the cheerful variety of the New Year’s holiday season.
The moderator throws a question as if a little troubled.
“I heard that you conquered the 59th level of the big boss the other day and broke the record for the highest level reached by mankind! How did you feel?”
“…… is the worst.
It was a terrible battle, and one of my friends died.”
Silence envelops the program.
An atmosphere that was hard to watch enveloped the audience.
Even the presenter seemed to be at a loss for words.
I, too, found it hard to watch and changed the channel.
The channel I changed to started a special end-of-year mail-order program.
“Even in the top guilds, people are still dying…”
It has been 20 years since a huge tower called a dungeon appeared in Tokyo Bay.
A huge tower with a radius of 10 km.
The tower has been there since before I was born.
At the time, Japan was in a panic.
The military was dispatched to the tower to see if a demon would appear, but nothing happened.
There was nothing to be done, so a survey team was formed and began to investigate the tower.
The investigation revealed that there were imaginary monsters called “demons” and a dungeon-like labyrinth spreading inside.
If they did no harm, they could have left it alone, but the world was changed forever by something the survey team brought back with them.
“A knight’s gauntlet…”
Those gauntlets are introduced on TV shopping shows.
An exaggerated commentator sells the product with an exaggerated reaction.
“Aaah! The sound of a knight’s gauntlet!”
“Look at this body!”
The president of the company, whose voice sounds like an aunt’s high-pitched voice you’ve heard somewhere else, frantically advertises the product.
Then the lady equips her gauntlet.
And a rice bale is placed in front of her.
“This rice bale weighs 50 kilos!”
It’s quite a heavy rice bale for just an old lady to hold.
The lady lifted the rice bale.
Not quite light, but it was stiff enough to be seen in an ordinary way.
This is what is called [equipment], an artifact unearthed in the dungeon.
This equipment, brought back by the first survey team, changed the world.
The gauntlet I mentioned earlier is called the knight series.
It is an equipment without much power that falls under rank D, but even so, anyone can obtain this kind of supernatural power.
The world sought this equipment.
Celebrities used them for self-defense and as collectibles.
Rebel groups used it as an armed force, and countries used it as a deterrent and a military force.
Equipment export has now become a major Japanese industry, surpassing that of cars.
No one would have thought that the day would come when Japan would hold the balance of power in the world’s military power.
Such a dungeon appeared 20 years ago.
It was also 20 years ago that the profession of dungeon explorer was created.
It was one year ago that I decided to become a dungeon explorer.
And it was six months ago that I gave up.
I was ostracized, fired, laughed at, and belittled as incompetent.
But I decided to chase my dream once more.
To have ordinary happiness.
“There’s only one way for a high school student to make a lot of money, right?”
I get ready and head out.
Even from here, a huge tower pierces through the clouds and into the heavens.
And beyond that tower, an illusory star.
No one knows what that star is.
No one knows what the star looks like.
A star that looks like the earth, a star that looks like an illusion, a star that looks like nothing from space.
No one knows what it is, or whether it is possible to find out by going to the top of the dungeon.
Still, people go to dungeons.
They go to dungeons to pursue their dreams and get rich.
And I, for my part, seek ordinary happiness.
The second level of the dungeon.
In a dimly lit room surrounded on all sides by stone, two creatures put their lives on the line.
Two dead goblins are already lying there, and the remaining goblin has wounds all over its body.
I, by the way, am also fully wounded.
I was bleeding and fighting for my life.
“I have to earn my money!”
Then I cut off the head of that last
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