Dungeon Battle, Start
There was a white room.
There were two luxurious sofas, the kind some noble might sit in. One was black, the other white. They weren’t facing each other, instead facing the same direction… Much like seats in a theater.
Two magic circles appeared simultaneously, a single person appearing from each.
One was a beautiful woman called The White Goddess. The other was a man in the prime of his life, The Great Demon King.
These two, Haku Raverio and Core No. 6, were famously always bickering with each other like a cat and a dog. What sort of situation would occur with these two alone in the same room—?
“It hasn’t been too long, has it? Since the assembly?”
“Yes, No. 6.”
They spoke surprisingly harmoniously.
Seeing the sofas, Core No. 6 strode unhesitatingly to the black one and sat down.
Haku sat on the white sofa in a similar manner.
“Today will be fun, No. 6.”
“Yeah. I think so too. Let’s see how your treasured child uses my No. 666.”
“It wasn’t my intention to hide her to the point of her being considered treasured.”
“Kukuku, I was referring to her Master. You’ve managed to keep a screen up between you and your cute little sister, but I wasn’t talking about her, you fox.”
“Oh my. I would send your words right back at you. I’ve wanted to get a look at No. 666’s Master as well, but he’s not here today either.”
“Sorry, but he’s training for the once every four years Fighting Competition for now. The timing was off.”
“Really? Too bad, then.”
The two continued talking with each other. If someone who knew how they normally acted were to hear them, they’d likely doubt their ears. They weren’t showing any of their usual animosity toward each other.
“How do you think it’s going to go? I believe No. 564 will be reasonably difficult, even for them.”
“I’m not sure either, I’ve been staying away from spoilers. Well, I was told they had around a fifty percent shot, though.”
“By that Master?”
“… In that case, what percent do you actually think they have.”
“Fifty percent. He said so himself.”
“Hmm. You seem to trust him.”
Just then, another person appeared from a new magic circle. Different from the ones the other two walked out of, this was a much more complex magic circle meant to summon an existence from a higher dimension.
The one to appear from it… was [Father].
He had a dark, swarthy complexion and black hair. He was dressed in a blue vestment with half of his face—his eyes—covered by a mask. His exposed mouth was sporting its usual smile.
“Yo. Oh, you don’t have to stand. We’re family, right?”
[Father], a person whose face was normally only shown through a monitor even during assemblies.
Actually meeting—although it wasn’t clear if this was truly his main body—someone who should be called a divinity? His aura was amazing. Haku and Core No. 6, two individuals who usually acted as top dogs, were driven to the point of wanting to kneel.
“I usually use the monitor so I don’t frighten you children, but I figured it should be fine with you two, yeah?”
“Yes. It is as you say, Otou-sama.”
“Kukuku, guess not then?”
With that, [Father] snapped his fingers and a sofa like the night sky appeared facing the white and black sofas. The sofa looked almost illusory, like stars were shining in some places before blinking out of existence in others. It was enough to make one think that it was crafted out of space itself.
[Father] sat down on it.
“What a wonderful seat.”
“Really? Thanks, No. 6. I’ll give it to you later then. You want one too, Haku?”
“You don’t need to hold back. I even incorporated Kehma-kun’s massage chair feature that you showed me.”
“That is wonderful. In that case, I won’t hold back.”
The three were full of smiles. It certainly did have a family-esque feeling of [Intimacy].
“But Father, is this alright? You preparing a room like this for us, I mean.”
“It’s fine, it’s fiiiine. Dungeon Battles are a bit amusing for me, after all. Besides, I figured it’d be interesting hearing both of your commentaries on it.”
“What could we possibly explain to Otou-sama?”
“I keep saying it, but I’m not as omniscient as you all seem to think. I guess I’m pretty good at making things, but well… that’s about it.”
“Father, wouldn’t that make us existences that can’t do anything?”
“It’s nothing like that. Dungeon Cores are existences made to be able to handle various things. Therefore, that includes things I cannot do that you all can. As long as there are people able to do whatever I can’t, it’s fine—at least, that’s what someone told me.”
Father spread his hands and smiled.
What someone told him… who in the world would say something like that to [Father]?
Haku thought to herself.
“Right, how about we start this? What will you two be doing for the starting signal? I want to make an appearance after this as a surprise, so…”
“Oh? Father, when you set up this room, your involvement became obvious. Won’t it not matter even if you give the starting signal?”
“Wait, Haku. That Master might have realized, but at the very least No. 564 hasn’t seemed to notice. If Father is wanting to hide, he should still be able to… The way people act would change upon realizing a god is watching them, there’s no need for us to be merciful to fools who haven’t realized it for themselves.”
“I see, it’s as you say, No. 6. So Otou-sama, who will give the starting signal? Do you have a preference?”
The reason she asked was because in addition to No. 6 and Haku there in the room, there were also the competitors themselves to pick from. Then again, it was also to imply that she and No. 6, non-competitors, were fine with giving the start signal.
“Hm? Hmm… Alright, let’s have No. 6 decide on it.”
It appeared that [Father] seemed to think it was best for No. 6, the only one connected with both sides of the competition, to make the call.
“It’s a big responsibility, No. 6. Do it properly.”
“You don’t need to tell me that. Still, rushing and doing this poorly would besmirch Father’s existence, so I will do this with the natural flow. Help me with this.”
“There’s no helping it.”
A monitor appeared in the air in front of [Father]. Looking at it, it displayed the Dungeon Cores that would be performing in this Dungeon Battle. The same was visible on [Father]’s side of the monitor.
“Still though, No. 6, Haku, you two get along well. You could just act like that all the time, honestly. I mean, I don’t know what you two are trying to achieve so I won’t say anything.”
“Thank you for your understanding.”
“Come to think of it, Haku, have you progressed on your investigation on that matter since then?”
“None… Actually, right now would be good for that. Really, No. 6, you’re so diligent. You should just enjoy the Dungeon Battle. I’ve been keeping myself from asking Kehma-san much for that as well.”
“Oh well. Ah, let’s give the opening speech. Father, could you?”
“Coming right up. In three, two…”
Matching the timing of Father’s countdown, the Dungeon Battle’s participants were connected to see the two of them sitting in their VIP seats. They were shown by the monitor to be looking away from each other as if displeased… although they were still smiling, all that could be seen was [Two Rival Leaders] with none of the peaceful mood there had been until then.
“… Well. It seems everyone is prepared.”
[Yes, Great Demon King-sama! My Magnificent Self will dedicate this victory to you, Great Demon King-sama!]
[I-I’ll show kyuu who’ll wiiin!]
“Ku ku ku. You both seem motivated… Don’t disappoint me, No. 564.”
Core No. 564, the cause of this whole thing, and Core No. 629. The victory condition for this was [Touch the Dungeon Core], either of these two’s true bodies, or for either of them to declare their surrender.
Although the previous time was a three-way battle, it was a battle held between the young 600 series generation of cores and was settled in the course of a day. This time would include one of the 500 series. Core No. 6 wondered how many days this one would last.
“Kehma-san. Use No. 666 to smash through him and win, alright?”
[Yeah… I mean, eh, I’ll try.]
“What are you saying, No. 89—no, Haku… No. 666, I won’t mind if you secretly stab No. 695 during this Dungeon Battle if you want.”
[A surprise attack! That sounds fun, Jiji-sama. I don’t think Rokuko’s going to be in the fighting though. Unfortunate.]
“Really? Hmph, so the [Betrayer]’s pet is a [Weakling], is she? What’s so good about her?”
“You don’t understand Rokuko-chan’s charm. Of course you wouldn’t, seeing how you admire that brutish No. 666.”
“Ahhh? You want to settle this here and now?”
“Fine… is what I’d like to say, but today’s fight isn’t ours. How about we start this?”
“Tch, that’s true… Alright, begin!”
With that, the Dungeon Battle between [Core No. 564] and the [600 Series Core Alliance] began.