The Dungeon Core Assembly 2
Core No. 666. The Demon King Faction’s star child—the one who calls herself Aidi, Rokuko’s [Friend].
Her red valkyrie dress went well with the castle-themed venue.
Rokuko, who should have been in a hostile faction—well, every faction was hostile to hers, but still—greeted Aidi with a smile.
There was none of the ominous traces or hidden intentions in her smile as those that could be found in Haku’s toward Core No. 6.
“Did you just arrive, Rokuko?”
“Yeah, just now. Did you not?”
“I came with Jiji-sama.”
Jiji-sama, that is, Core No. 6, the top person of the Demon King Faction. Or perhaps he was the top because of his number? Either way, Rokuko didn’t know.
“By the way, I heard we got some letter from Haku-sama, but did you have anything to do with it, Rokuko?”
Rokuko thought about how she should answer Aidi’s question.
She might have been talking about the letter for the Dungeon Battle. The thing Kehma asked Haku for.
… In that case, it was probably better for Rokuko to say she didn’t have anything to do with it. Having another duel or something would just make the whole issue get confusing. She felt they’d almost definitely lose if Aidi joined in.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Really? Then how about we have a duel?”
Huh? But I said I didn’t know? Did I make a mistake there somewhere?
Rokuko tilted her head to the side in puzzlement.
“… Why’d this turn into a fight?”
“? You’re being weird, friends exist to duel each other.”
“Maybe in the Demon King Faction. It’s not like that for us.”
“Really? Then about our duel—let’s have it.”
“… I’m saying friends don’t duel each other though?”
Although she’d tried telling her that, Rokuko had been alone so long that she didn’t really understand what friends did do together.
I-I have Redra now!
She made an excuse to herself.
… Huh? But come to think of it, I did a Dungeon Battle against Redra too… And Redra’s always on about how she wants a rematch and that she’ll win next time… Huh.
The fact she’d only just now thought about that would remain a secret.
“Friends where I’m from duel each other and have one-on-ones to settle things, so refusing me here isn’t really a reason.”
“But see? I agree with you. I’m just a pacifist.”
“Right. Let’s fix that with a fight. If you win, you’re right. If I win, I’m right. Simple and clean.”
That just makes us have a duel either way though?
Rokuko stared at Aidi reproachfully.
Still though, Aidi was smiling both boldly and in nonchalance. Rokuko could tell she was speaking from the heart there.
“I’ll have you know… this sword is just decorative!”
“Right, of course! I’ll prepare a sword for you to use then.”
“… Not that, like, I’m saying I have no skill in using swords, okay?”
“Really? Then we really need to do this. You’ll only improve if you practice, after all.”
So all roads lead to Duel Land, huh…
Rokuko scratched her head.
Orange, who’d been deepening his friendship with the tentacle-friend-thing returned—or rather, accidentally returned.
Seeing Orange return in high spirits, Rokuko instinctively deemed the situation to be dangerous.
“Oooh, Rokuko~. I did it, I have a true friend! Thank you for having my back, Rokuko~!”
“No. 629, w-we’re in the middle of something right now.”
Orange was flapping his hears in delight. Rokuko looked between him and Aidi in a panic. Aidi was part of the Demon King Faction and Orange would be having a Dungeon Battle with the Demon King Faction. Anything could end up happening if these two met.
“Oh…? No. 629. You seem to know my Rokuko?”
“Oh? …. G-Geh!? C-Core No. 666!? I see, kyuu, kyuu’re scoping out the enemy!?”
“Scoping out the enemy, hmm? That’s good, too. Come to think of it, No. 629, you seem to have joined Haku-sama’s faction?”
“Wh-Where did you hear that!?”
“I saw the letter that was sent to Jiji-sama too. You’ll be having a Dungeon Battle against a Demon King Faction core. Against Core No. 564, even… to be honest, I can’t see you prevailing?”
“H-Hmph. I have a powerful assistant! I won’t lose! I’ll turn the tide!”
“Heeh, an assistant… someone in Haku-sama’s faction?”
Aidi glanced over to Rokuko and grinned. Rokuko’s own smile, in turn, cramped.
“I-I have nothing to do with it?”
“Eh! H-How could kyuu say that… aren’t we already friends, Rokuko?”
Rokuko was weak to the word [Friend]. Rokuko had been all alone until Kehma came, after all. As a result, Rokuko was unable to deny Orange’s declaration of friendship.
“… Y-Yeah. You and I are friends, No. 629. We’re in the same faction!”
“Our faction has nothing to do with it! Even if something happens and I have to join another faction, I’ll be friends with kyuu forever!”
“Heeh. You sure say some funny things. Rokuko’s my rival, you know? Do you have the qualification to be her friend?”
“Haah, Core No. 666. Kyuu have it wrong. Friendship isn’t about qualifications, didn’t kyuu know that?”
Aidi was quarreling with Orange, who was standing on the opposite side of Rokuko as her.
Stop, No. 629, a difference in faction is a difference in culture. The Demon King Faction would definitely require friends to measure up somehow.
Rokuko felt her stomach start to turn.
So she was the type of person to feel stomach pain from disputes, huh…
“Hmph. I see how it is, No. 629. Do you want me to duel you, then?”
“… No, I have a previous engagement, nkyuu. I have to focus on this Dungeon Battle first.”
“Previous engagement… the one against Core No. 564, then? Oh well. I’ll just have to help you clean up your battle against Core No. 564 so that I can apply to duel you.”
Rokuko and Orange both answered in bewilderment. What did Aidi just say?
“I said that I would apply to duel you once Core No. 564 was put in order.”
“Not that, I mean just before that! Umm, you said you’d help?”
“Yeah. You’re going to wreck Core No. 564 right? I’ll help.”
Looks like they didn’t mishear her. Aidi properly said she’d help.
“No no no no, what!? That’s the faction kyuu are in though!?”
“Oh, that’s easy… Jiji-sama said that he wouldn’t care if I crushed some fool that would do something as idiotic as picking a fight against someone of the wrong faction. So I can crush No. 564 whenever.”
What she said did make some sense. Even if the placement was a bit poor, someone unilaterally deciding to go fight someone of a non-hostile faction without getting permission from above… well, although that would be enough to justify punishment, it even caused the targeted core to join up with a hostile faction.
In other words, Core No. 564 had made a false report saying that he would be fighting against a core in Haku’s faction. Even if it wasn’t intentional.
“Just before this, it was decided that Core No. 564 would not be forgiven unless he managed to either destroy No. 629 or bring him under our control. He should be notified of that decision any moment now, I think.”
Orange let out a weak sound. In other words, his opponent would be taking this very seriously. In that case, the more hands he had around to help, the better. However, Orange didn’t have the authority to seek the help of someone from like a hostile faction such as Aidi.
“… I want to talk to Haku-sama about this, nkyuu.”
“Right. But I think Jiji-sama will have already talked to her about it, so prepare for that.”
“Nkyuu. Still though, Core No. 666, why are nkyuu helping me? Kyuu should have no reason to help me?”
“Oh, that’s even easier.”
A smile slipping its way onto her face, Aidi spoke.
“This means I can legally kill Core No. 564. A series 500 core. My blood’s boiling.”
“… …. ….”
Orange and Rokuko were both reminded right there and then that the Demon King Faction were warlike to a fault.
Say what you might about Aidi, she was someone that lived to fight the truly strong. A battle junkie.
“Besides, my rival is your assistant, right? This means I’ll be able to fight with Rokuko.”
Ah, she found out after all.