Basement Dungeon Chapter 102: The Party of the Hero and the Mad Witch
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~3rd Person Perspective~
Further into the depths of the floor called Forest, which is guarded by a giant dragon.
The number of explorers who are allowed to enter that place in Japan is less than three digits. It was called the Ruins, a place where powerful and intelligent monsters roamed.
Explorers who have defeated the Rimdobmur using powerful skills, magic, and tactics rather than their individual skills are often arrogant about their own strength. In the Forest, that strength would be enough. Monsters without wisdom can be defeated with strength, if not the right skills.
Even the Minotaur, who can understand and use human language, never devised their own strategies. At best, they just respond to what they hear on the spot.
The explorer, who has raised his level without any technique and is overconfident in his power, enters the Ruins in a state of superiority and sees the enemy. There are slimes and goblins.
And then they think. Oh, they’re small fries.
Forest monsters are basically big and powerful. Explorers who have lived in a world where the laws of physics apply unconsciously perceive small monsters as weak.
It would be a miracle to discover this as soon as you start fighting.
The small monsters have the power and skill to slay an explorer who slaughtered Rimdobmur. They have the intelligence to trick people, trap them and kill them.
Those who don’t realize it, or those who don’t have the skill to recognize it, will easily fall to their wicked blade.
This floor was called the Ruins. The people who have arrived there are some of the fiercest explorers in Japan. But even so, the number of those who lost their lives could not be counted on just a single hand.
It must have been a coincidence that Yuki and the others found it.
From the end of the path they had not planned to take, they heard a grunt from a young man and the sound of weapons falling to the ground.
Even though they normally don’t go near other explorers in dungeons for safety reasons, once they heard his voice, they couldn’t help but head towards him.
As they turned down the path, they saw three unconscious explorers with wounds all over their bodies. A man was conscious but unable to move due to exhaustion or trauma. And then there was a woman who grabbed the man by the hair and lifted him up.
“Who are you? You’re an explorer, just like us. Let him go.” (Yuki)
Intuition told me that the woman was not an explorer. She was unarmed and wore only tattered clothes that seemed to offer no protection. The atmosphere around her was similar to the monsters that we had fought this far.
“Oh, nice to meet you everyone. I am Sostenuto, the hominid, a servant of this dungeon.” (Witch =>Sostenuto)
When we pointed our weapons at her, the woman, Sostenuto, immediately let go of the man she was holding as if she had no interest in him. [T/N: Sostenuto is a musical term for a sustained note. An Italian word, from past participle of sostenere to sustain, from Latin sustinēre. Might mean something. ¯\_ (ツ)_/¯]
She smiled a modest smile and did a beautiful curtsy as she greeted us.
She has grace and an elegant manner of speaking. The word “hominid” is a bit of a concern, but if that’s all she was, she was certainly a beautiful woman. [T/N: Hominid is the taxonomic family, great apes, where humans are included. Also, the Hominid part is the one that got your attention not the “servant of the dungeon”? (-ლ)]
However, the tattered clothes and the bloodshot eyes contradicted her previous actions and smile.
“Those men out there need to be treated. Will you clear the way?” (Yuki)
I asked, keeping the tip of my sword pointed at Sostenuto-san. If her tattered clothes were the result of a battle with a group of male explorers, that was fine. If that’s the case, then Sostenuto-san’s ability is a little higher than the four explorers. In that case, even if it comes to a battle, I think we can win.
However, the scars on her clothes don’t look like they were made during combat. The damage on her clothes looked more like it had been torn off than cut by a sword.
“Of course. My Lord told me a long time ago to be kind to intruders. I’m ashamed to admit that I lost my temper. I’m ashamed of myself.” (Sostenuto)
Sostenuto’s pale face flushed slightly and she moved to the corner of the road.
“Gouta, please.” (Yuki)
“I got it.” (Gouta)
With his shield pointed at Sostenuto, Gouta approached the fallen man and gave him a potion. I’m not sure if he’s going to wake up soon, but when I saw the wounds on his body disappear, I let out a sigh.
“What do you think of this dungeon? I’m embarrassed to say that the dungeon I made was just a copy of the one the Lord made, so I think it turned out to be quite poor.” (Sostenuto)
“What do you mean? And who is this ‘Lord’?” (Yuki)
I couldn’t understand the intent of the question and asked back. At the same time, I thought it was rude to keep pointing our weapons while talking, so I turned the tip of the sword to the ground.
“Do you usually use Sorcery? How about Magic in comparison? Don’t you think it’s wonderful? Don’t you think it’s convenient?
Compared to Sorcery, which is difficult to use, it is convenient, powerful, and can be used by anyone. The same goes for skills. There are secrets that may be attained after years or decades of swinging a sword. There are depths. But it is not for everyone. You have to be blessed with both environment and talent.” (Sostenuto)
As Sostenuto spoke, she extended her hand, and a black mist formed in it, forming the shape of a sword.
I quickly readied my sword and stepped back.
“Oh, don’t be alarmed. I have no intention of attacking. Back to the topic at hand, Skill is a technique. The Lord said that the two are the same thing, just in different languages. What if everyone could use the techniques that are attained after years of practice? A human weapon is not the power of an individual who has been trained, but a technique that can be used by anyone inherited and refined through a short life span, the number of people, and words. A technique that can only be used by one person is no match for the power of numbers, and even if it can be used, it will weaken after a few decades. That is why the Lord created an ideal technique that can be used by anyone and gave it the name Skill, which means the same thing as technique. I cannot wield a sword.” (Sostenuto)
Sostenuto, who had been speaking condescendingly, closed her mouth, held her black sword in an empty direction, and swung it only once.
The swing of the sword was quick and powerful, but not sharp. Even though I’ve only been swinging for a short time, I can see that it’s an unskilled yet powerful sword.
“But what if you have the Skills? [Call Code 11029 Flesh Cutter].” (Sostenuto)
At the same time as her words, her sword glowed red, and the sword that she swung left a big scratch on the wall and caused dust to scatter everywhere. Her sword slash was a perfect technique that far surpassed Yuki.
“Yeah, it’s wonderful. That’s what those people are, children playing around. Yes, I shouldn’t have fought with these children, but they think they’re getting stronger. No, it’s fine to be mistaken. But if you are mistaken, it means that you are the fools we think you are. That’s good. But to be insulted by them, I can’t stand it, well, I truly can’t stand it. Oh, I lost my temper, I suppose. I’m sorry that I took it out on them. But this me has been here for decades, hundreds of years. How many years have passed now? Well, a long time has passed, and I suppose it’s not strange to be on edge once in a while. Isn’t it?” (Sostenuto)
She smiles at me as she gazes around with bloodshot eyes and sends a finger sign to my friends.
Slowly back away, escape. Step back slowly.
“Well, it’s the same in this world, isn’t it, sending signs with your fingertips? But do you know, in the world I was in before, there were people who used their fingers to sign. It would be interesting to try to create the illusion that you can only fake the movement of your fingertips when you should just open your mouth rather than give a poor sign that can be recognized. It’s interesting to try to create an illusion that you can only fake with the movement of your fingertips. Because you are trying to communicate with small movements, you can be surprised by magic so small that you don’t even notice. So what I’m trying to say is, you’re going home. I’m going home, too. Work, work, work. What was my job again? Well, work is work, isn’t it? Oh, yes.” (Sostenuto) [T/N: Yep you’re crazy that was some mad rambling with scary implications.]
Sostenuto-san trailed off and smiled, opening her mouth wider than ever before. The teeth peeking out of her mouth were wrecked and stained black.
“Isn’t it wonderful?” (Sostenuto)
“Oh, it’s as wonderful as it can be.” (Yuki)
I forced a smile onto my tense face and replied.
“Yes, it’s wonderful, because it has to be wonderful. Yes, it’s wonderful. Haha, ugh. Oh, well, everyone. I’ll be going now. Excuse me for this.” (Sostenuto)
Sostenuto, who laughed madly while bobbing her face upward, suddenly came back to her senses, smiled that first elegant smile, and quietly bowed her head. Then a black mist enveloped her, and there was nothing there at all.
The only trace of Sostenuto’s presence was a deep scar on the wall.
“[Holy Sword]” (Yuki)
I attacked with my most powerful skill I could use right next to the scratch on the wall.
“What’s wrong Yuki?” (Arisu)
As the surprised Arisu rushes over to me, she looks at the scratches on the wall.
“That is the slash that Yuki made.” (Risa)
It was Risa who muttered while stroking the slash. The slash that Risa touched is shallow and can be said to have slightly carved it.
“We need to get back on the surface now, she’s too dangerous.” (Yuki)
Heading straight home, we carried the two men each who were unconscious along with Gouta.
The mysterious woman, Sostenuto, appeared in front of the heroes and the explorers who fought against Sostenuto. What did she tell them? It was reported that her abilities seemed to surpass even those of Japan’s strongest heroes and their party.
However, those pieces of information were never disclosed.
“Don’t approach anyone in the dungeon especially if they are alone.”
Only that one line was added as a sign at the entrance to the dungeon.
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