A long time before Kehma arrived in the world, in an age where dungeon cores only went up to No. 99.
The large countries of the present didn’t exist, it was an age filled with small countries warring amongst themselves.
There was no adventurer guild either, this was an age where dungeons were simply dungeons.
“Kuh… I’ll kill you…!”
“Please, wait. Who are you? Why are you here?”
A time where Haku’s dungeon, [White Labyrinth] was barely even five floors.
Routing humanoid monsters such as goblins and minotaurs, a locally well-known [Hero]—this age’s [Hero] did not mean someone from another world, it simply pointed out that a person was brave and mighty—with blond hair swept through [White Labyrinth], all the way to the dungeon core.
Even the red minotaur that she had summoned as a last resort couldn’t stand against this man.
And now, despite Haku being forced to attack him directly, he was able to easily evade her.
“This is a dungeon, why are you in a place like this? Ah, maybe you were captured by the dungeon? Wait here, I’ll save you soon!”
“Caught by the dungeon? … Me? Hah.”
Haku laughed in scorn.
“I am this dungeon’s… well, to say it in a way that is simple to understand, something like this dungeon’s spirit.”
“Spirit… I see. In other words, when I [Liberate] this dungeon, it will set you free?”
“By [Liberate], you mean destroy the dungeon core? Fool, I am the dungeon core. I would die if it is broken.”
“So, it’s like that? I was told that [Liberating] dungeons would benefit the world, but… well, those guys sounded pretty suspicious.”
The people he was referring to were the recent people preaching the religion of the [Light God’s Decree].
It wasn’t known who began the religion, but there was only a single god they worshiped: the god of light. It spoke of how dungeons and beastkin were vile products of the evil god.
“So you’re the dungeon itself, like its life?”
“That’s correct. Now, are you here to kill me or not?! Hurry up and do it! To you, I’m no different from goblins or minotaurs!”
“—Nah, I changed my mind.”
The man put his sword away. As expected, he could only see the woman before him as a human.
Even if she were in fact a monster, after talking with her, a [Person] was something that could come to a mutual understanding. That’s what the man believed.
“I’m Lyon, Lyon Raverio. I have a family name, but I’m just a humble adventurer. What’s your name?
“… Dungeon Core No. 89. Are you satisfied by that, I wonder?”
“No. 89, eh, that’s an annoying name, rather, isn’t it just a number…? So you’re Haku, mind if I call you that? It’s because of your beautiful white hair.”
“I like it. So, you changed your mind, but I still wonder what you plan to do to me?—Ah, right, I am in the form of a human, and a woman at that. Judging from appearances, you are a man. In other words… that?”
“Woah woah, hold up, I’m not going to do anything. I wouldn’t do something as barbaric like that!”
“In other words… you would if it was consensual?”
“I-if it was consensual—”
“Then, you would threaten to gain my consent merely for the sake of it…”
“No! I said I wouldn’t do something like that! Couldn’t you please settle down for a moment…”
The man, Lyon, unable to say what he wanted to say, looked up at the ceiling while searching for the right words.
As for Haku, she had just realized that she was flustered. Letting out a breath, she calmed down.
“Fuu, it couldn’t be helped, then. I seem to have been somewhat confused. So, what do you feel like doing? I would appreciate you saying it as easy to understand as possible.”
“Right, let’s put it simply. Haku. From the moment I set eyes on you, I came to like you. I want to use my life to protect you… So, umm, I mean if it’s alright. You might even come to like me bit by bit? If you could come to like me, I’d be happy.”
“Eh? … You… like me?”
“Yeah, love at first sight.”
Hearing those unexpected words, Haku blushed. She then looked away and folded her arms to conceal her embarrassment.
“H-hmph, y-yeah, I’ll make good use of you. You’ll do anything?”
“Yeah. I’d do anything to protect you.”
“I-is that a confession of love?”
“Yep, isn’t that what I just said though? Did you hear something else?”
Haku spoke without thinking out of nervousness.
Lyon stepped up to Haku. He mimicked a knight’s etiquette and took her hand, kissing it.
Haku, strangely enough, didn’t feel it as unpleasant.
“—Ah, if possible, I’d like it if you could try and find a peaceful way and avoid killing good people somehow, is that much alright?”
“May I slaughter them if they are malicious people?”
“Isn’t that fine? Well, I believe it’ll be alright to kill anyone Haku tells me to kill anyways. I just don’t think that I want to kill everything to the last.”
“… Well, if I can get someone as strong as you to cooperate with me, that is reassuring. I’ll accept your condition. However, for you to be stronger than a red minotaur…”
“That’s because of my training. It’s a walk in the park if I can hit it with my sword.”
“It took a considerable amount for me to prepare that, though.”
“Ehh, umm… sorry?”
Not knowing that it was something that the dungeon had to prepare, Lyon apologized. He didn’t know it, but there was no helping it as the proper use of monsters were for them to battle against intruders.
“Then how about you work as the dungeon boss for a while? I am lacking monsters because of you, so I currently have a shortage of defensive strength.”
“Me as a dungeon boss huh… maybe I should pretend to be a zombie or something? … Ah, maybe it’d be better to capture a monster from outside? Wouldn’t it be better to toss a strong monster into here? Small fry as well if you want.”
“From outside? You can’t do—… no, that might actually work. Let’s try it.”
The two people staring at each other weren’t aware of it at the time, but a floating message saying [Lyon Raverio, acknowledged as the dungeon master] appeared on a semi-transparent window.
This was the beginning of the great [Raverio Empire], the chance meeting when Haku became Haku.