As I was thinking about this, I heard the sound of footsteps approaching from the floor above me. When I turned around, I saw a lantern or some kind of light leaking onto the landing of the stairs leading to the eighteenth floor, and the multiple shadows cast by the light were wavering like afterimages on the landing wall.
Then the sound of someone walking down the stairs echoed.
After a while, four adventurers appeared from the wall of the landing. When they saw me from the landing, their mood changed a little, and they slowly came down the stairs as if they were watching me.
When I saw them, I finally realized that I had failed.
I shouldn’t have just stood there in the middle of the street in the middle of a dungeon. I should have thought a little more about how I looked to other people… Now I’m a suspicious person no matter what I say. However, I don’t think it’s good to leave in a hurry now that they saw me. That would make me even more suspicious.
To be clear, the place called the dungeon is… aside from what it is, is a place outside the law. Soldiers who mediate when a dispute occurs within the town do not travel this far.
Even so, the reason why I haven’t seen big conflicts until now is that the crowds are only on the shallow floors. No matter how far from the law this place is, if someone sees you in such a situation and starts a bad rumor, you may be targeted in the dungeon.
In a world where connections, fame, and influence are very important, adventurers have surprisingly strong relationships with other adventurers. Those who have bad rumors are thrown out of the circle, and their lives in the town are hindered. And they can no longer stay in that town.
This is why adventurers try to avoid conflict as much as possible. So if a fight breaks out over drinks, it is limited to that moment.
But, of course, there are idiots in every world, and there are those who think about doing wrong things. Even if you try to avoid disputes, if there is anyone foolish enough, a dispute will occur, and if a person who thinks about wrongdoings they will do wrongdoings—
—they’ll think about doing something in a place like this where people won’t see them.
Grasping the awfulness of the situation, I moved closer to the wall to give way to them for now.
When they confirmed this, they walked down the floor to the opposite side of the wall from where I was.
The sound of their footsteps echoed in the quiet space, and the shadows danced in time with them.
As they passed each other on the two-meter wide staircase, a woman’s voice came from among the four adventurers.
“I wondered what kind of person you were, but you aren’t a child right? What are you doing alone in a place like this?” (Female Adventurer)
I didn’t expect to be spoken to out of the blue, so I was so surprised that I couldn’t reply immediately. I just said, “Oh, well… I was just taking a break.” Then a man around 30 who was leading the way glanced at the woman and chided her.
“Martha, you’re always telling adventurers not to snoop around.” (Male Adventurer)
“Because he looked like a kid.” (Female Adventurer => Martha)
“There’s nothing to be suspicious about him… we will proceed as planned. Let’s go!” (Male Adventurer)
The man in the lead leaped from the stairs and accelerated immediately. And the two adventurers followed.
“Oh! Already… see you!” (Martha)
The last female adventurer left me with only that one word before running off after them.
I watched them run off and let out a sigh.
As for this time, I was alone and I looked quite young, so they… no, it feels like her suspicion has been lifted and no extra problems occurred. But if I had panicked and made a suspicious move there, I could have been cut off immediately…
—And it was possible that they were thinking about something much worse.
Thinking so, I trembled.
“I have to be a little more careful about moving around in the dungeon.”
I will explore the 19th floor while steadily walking within the space dominated by silence.
The endless darkness continues in front of me, and when I look back, the endless darkness continues there. Everything is dark except the area illuminated by the spell [Light Source] that I created. On the previous floors, I could hear the sounds from other adventurers or see lights from their lanterns and magical light from the distance or from the passages, but on this floor there is nothing. None.
As I had expected, this level seemed to be completely unpopular.
The main reason for this, without a doubt, must be the ghosts that appear on this floor.
As I walked in the darkness, I somehow thought about the adventurers who had run off earlier.
Perhaps they were planning to ignore all the monsters on this floor and run through it at full speed.
Monsters that only work with magic are probably that much more troublesome. As long as magic power is finite, any adventurer can’t fight with a lot of magic. There aren’t many people who can use magic in a practical way, either.
This is why, in this dungeon, the theory is that D ranks should raise their level up to the eighteenth floor, and if they want to move up to the next rank, they should skip the nineteenth and twentieth floors and start from the twenty-first floor.
I thought I heard something faintly and turned around.
But there was nothing there, only darkness.
I stopped and focused my nerves, trying to pick up the sounds around me.
My footsteps disappeared, and the sounds around me disappeared. All I could hear was the faint sound of my breathing.
I wait for a while, but there is no change. I wondered if I was imagining things, so I continued on.
“………… Aa…… Aaa……” (Unknown)
This time I was sure I heard it. It was the sound of something that could not be described as male or female.
I think it’s closer than before.
Once again, I stopped and searched my surroundings cautiously.
There was only darkness, where silence reigned.
All I could hear was the sound of my breathing. And the sound of my heart beating.
I still couldn’t see anything. I couldn’t hear anything.
I don’t know why my forehead is sweating so much, but I know I am.
There was no point in standing here like this. And just when I was about to start walking again.
“… Aaa… Aaaaaaa.” (Unkown)
I heard it from right behind me.
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