The War of Death’s Beginnings
Exploring by following whichever way had the most demons, we eventually came across a suspicious place.
There was a metallic door held shut both vertically and horizontally by chains.
There was an ominous mist leaking out from its gaps.
… This is… mana?
Hamakaze seemed to have sensed something as well. She was staring at the closed door fixedly.
… Guess I’ll head in?
There’s definitely going to be an enemy stronger than any of the ones we’ve fought so far in there.
And if we beat it, the way down to the next floor should open up to us.
That’s been the way so far. There’s been strong demons in each of the final rooms on the fifty-first to fifty-ninth floors. If not those, then there’s been traps like the Monster House.
“… If I don’t keep moving forward… I won’t get to take my revenge…”
I stamped any traces of fear that may have crept up in my mind with my hatred.
“… Shall we go?”
I clenched my fists.
“Hamakaze, we’re going with the usual.”
I was on standby, ready to use a Berserk Tempest.
Hamakaze rushed in with the daggers she specialized in.
“O’ wind spirits, slice through the air. Wind Slice!”
The chains echoed out with loud metallic clangs as they were severed through. Its seal undone, the door began to open on its own.
I couldn’t see through the mist too well. In that case…
“I’ll disperse this mist!!”
Just as the gap was wide enough for a single person to go through, I ran in front of the entrance.
The one to make the first move decides the fight’s tempo. Before moving into the room, I went to open up the fight with a Berserk Tempest.
I thrust my hand forward together with the massive amount of mana bundled together before it.
“Revert all to dust and return them to the earth! Berserk Te—”
However, I didn’t finish.
My arm arced through the air.
… … … Huh?
My mind couldn’t keep up. It did feel the pain jolting through my body, however.
Blood continued to gush out of the stump.
An unbearable pain attacked my mind.
Ow, it hurts, it hurts so bad!
It hurts, it hurts, it—it hurts, hurts, hurts, hurts!
I felt vomit filling my throat. As I tried to resist, I fell to my knees and promptly emptied my stomach on the ground.
“Hah… hah! Ah…”
My vision blurred, everything foggy.
Did I lose too much blood?
No, I should think about escaping first.
Let’s do that, I don’t want to hurt like this. I’ll get away, then I’ll have Hamakaze heal me…!
Just as I started to try standing back up, the arm I’d used to brace against the ground was severed.
Lacking any support with both arms now gone, I fell to the ground.
My upper body fully entered the room.
Ah, shit… … …
I heard something shout.
I looked up to see what that roar came from and—
I stopped seeing anything.
Feeling a sharp pain go through my neck, I lost consciousness.
◆ ◆ ◆
Darkness. Black. Pitch black.
That’s the only way I could describe this place. My feet weren’t touching the ground. I was floating. And when I tried to move, I felt weirdly sluggish.
[I am glad to meet you, Hero.]
When I turned my body toward the direction of the voice, I saw a woman.
I couldn’t make out much of her face due to the long black hair covering it. For some reason, she stood out in this darkness. She was wearing a jet black dress.
She reached her hand out to me and stepped a little closer.
At that moment, a change occurred in her.
A wild bloodthirst oozing from her, the woman raised the corners of her mouth.
[Welcome home… and take care.]
A cold sweat broke out across my body. My head told me that I needed to escape, that I needed to run from her.
But I couldn’t move. I was restrained like I’d been tied up.
“Wh-Who are you!?”
I barely managed to force out the question.
She ignored it, though.
She just continued to smile. I couldn’t only see that smile of hers as a mad demon’s.
Step by step, she drew closer to me.
[Die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die a lot!]
My body immediately responded to being told to die.
Why should I have to experience pain that bad?
Why am I the only one that has to go through something so agonizing!?
My body ignored what I told it to do and refused to budge and inch.
Move, damn you!!
In that instant, her slim, snow-white fingers grasped my neck—
◆ ◆ ◆
I jumped toward the girl’s voice. Mounting her, I shoved my palm onto her head.
If I don’t kill her, I’ll be killed!
Even if I have to use all of my mana, I’ll finish this!
“O’ wind spirits, slice through the air!”
Hearing my name be called just before I finished the incantation, I stopped.
Upon retracting my hand, I saw a familiar face.
It wasn’t that woman.
It was my slave, Hamakaze Shuri.
“Yeah… I am Daichi’s Hamakaze Shuri.”
“N-No way. You’re a fake. I mean, you were just about to kill me…”
I could remember it clearly.
A mysterious woman grabbed my neck…
But the scenery was way different, I was inside the dungeon. Even the single-toned dilapidated walls were exactly how I recalled them.
What the hell is going on…!?
Who do I kill? Who was trying to kill me? Who will kill who…?
“Please calm down, Daichi.”
Hamakaze’s voice pulled me out of my confusion and back into reality.
“I don’t know what’s made you so confused, but please calm down.”
Seeing me lost and confused, Hamakaze squeezed my hands.
Her warmth and soft voice pervaded my mind and cleared my confusion, unraveling my tangled emotions.
As my head cleared up, I started arranging what had happened piece by piece.
My roughened breath slowly calmed down as well.
“… Daichi… are you alright?”
“Really? Thank goodness…”
Hamakaze looked relieved.
It went to show just how abnormal I was a moment ago.
Dammit… I got swept away by my fear of death?
“If… if you want, I’m alright with continuing…”
I was still mounted on top of Hamakaze. Her position left her breasts outlined clearly through her shirt.
I realized what she was getting out.
“N-No, that’s not what I was doing. I’ll get off. Just give me a sec first.”
Recovered from my confusion, I wanted to verify something.
There was still the possibility she was an impostor.
Job: Hero Lv. 46
- [Heart of Steel] Double resistance value during combat. Prevents poison, paralysis, hypnosis, and mental corruption 1/3 of the time.
- [Indomitable Mentality] Mana cannot go below 100.
- [Absolute Command] Appears upon those revived by the Lich King being lower leveled. Any order the slave receives will be followed through with until given authorization to stop.
- [Magus of Slaughter] Damage inflicted upon enemies will also damage others of the same species within a 10 meter radius.
- [Lich King] Able to form contracts with creatures that have died, reviving them and bending them to your will. Every other time the user dies, gain a slot.
- Current: 2 Open Slots
- [Revenge of the Grudgebearer] No matter how many times you die, gather strength from the abyss of death and resurrect.
- Current: 6 Deaths
Job: High-Grade Slave Lv. 57
- [Auto Heal] Restore 300 Stamina every 10 minutes.
- [Loyalty] When master’s life is endangered, all stats increase to 150%.
- [High-Grade Slave] Master: Katsuragi Daichi. Any attack against your master, Katsuragi Daichi, is blocked. Forced obedience until released.
What was written there was definitely Hamakaze Shuri.
My stats went up, too. The limitation on Lich King had increased to three people.
More importantly, my death counter went up to six.
In other words, this isn’t a dream or hallucination, this is the world… after I was killed at those doors.
“… … Hah…”
Relaxing, I fell sideways toward the floor.
The sense of security filling me all at once, I lost all traces of tension.
Hamakaze asked in a panic.
“I’m just a bit tired.”
“Don’t worry… just let me sleep for a bit… I really… can’t…”
Unable to hold off against the wave of drowsiness assaulting me, I fell asleep.