The discussion became complicated.
Although Renya isn’t willing to withdraw from his statement that if someone has to go then it will be him to do so, Az and Shion are finding it difficult to accept Renya going ahead by himself. All of them are talking at the same time in this heated debate.
As far as it goes, Az’s final measure is to cancel the current state of having a joint operation with Renya’s party. Even though he had reserved this method for only when his own party forced him to do so, without being able to say that Renya will step back at the present state and since even Shion and Rona weren’t rejecting the situation in order to back him up, it became a state where he strongly desired to leave himself.
Besides, there isn’t any particular reason for Az to start a quarrel with Renya either.
On the contrary, he is judging that he wanted to keep a favorable relation with Renya if possible.
Or perhaps you should say that this was heavily influenced by the handiness of Renya’s void storage skill. Or rather, it was the effect of some kind of stubbornness regarding Renya’s meals. Or, frankly speaking, it was Renya’s iron hold on Az’s stomach in the end.
Anyway, although he wants to avoid a deterioration of their relationship, there is no way for him to approve of what Renya says on the other hand either. And a possible compromise also isn’t apparent.
“Well, let’s accept Renya going ahead for the time being.” (Az)
“Thinking that it’s someone else’s party, what is this sly magician there saying?!” (Shion)
Renya was surprised when Shion changed her way of talking while raising her voice wondering whether she was just about to blow her top.
It isn’t her usual military-like kind of speech pattern. It was the speech pattern appropriate for a girl of her age.
“Shion, watch your language…” (Rona)
She whispers into Shion’s ear while restraining her mouth with a sidelong glance. Az cocked his head in puzzlement questioning whether he really appeared to be this sly.
The look of his eyes is evil. His face has become too skinny. And being weak at laughing, he doesn’t show it on his face very much either.
After agreeing that it indeed can’t be helped to even be called sly, Az continues his speech.
“But, I can’t accept letting him go by himself after all. How about the two ojou-san’s over there, me and you, the four of us, act as vanguard while the four remaining members of my party will be our rearguard?” (Az)
“T-That’s right, Renya. If that’s the case, we will also be able to follow once Renya says that we can enter without having to be worried about our rear.” (Shion)
The flustered Shion supported Az’s suggestion.
Renya didn’t assess the proposal of splitting the party in two to be an overly good idea, but he thought that it wouldn’t be settled by grumbling over it any longer either.
Furthermore, because this all came to be due to a single worry of Renya, it has become the cause of rushing the conclusion. Rona seems to have noticed that as well.
“However, just make sure to cast defense magic before breaking into the room. But… since no one has come out from the room after us having made such a tumult in front of the door, isn’t it possible that there isn’t anyone on the other side of the door, I wonder?” (Rona)
There were two possibilities.
In spite of comprehending it, Renya raised a smile due to Rona choosing the optimistic option amongst the two possibilities on purpose.
“If there is really nothing on the other side of the door, it will be good as it will be a funny story of a scared, weakling leader making a racket.” (Renya)
Although Renya said this, if the other suspected possibility becomes reality, any reason for laughter will vanish.
That is, even though there might be something on the other side of the door, it was a powerful existence to the degree of not paying attention to something like the actions on this side.
It doesn’t care what kind of preparation Renya’s group does.
It’s completely fine to run away, if you want to run away.
It is something this strong that it doesn’t even demonstrate at least this much interest.
As for that possibility, it appears that Rona has noticed it as well, but she doesn’t let it show. She is going around casting magic on each party member in turns.
“Thought it’s only to the extent of <Defense> and <Increase Recovery Rate>…” (Rona)
“That’s plenty. I will open the door. Rear guards, pay attention to the back.” (Renya)
Seeing everyone nodding, Renya pushes the door with both hands.
Although he is thinking that they can turn back if it doesn’t open due to being locked for an instant while putting strength into his arms, the door slowly begins to open.
Someone unintentionally raised their voice like this.
A strong rotten smell drifted out from within the gap of the slightly opened door.
Renya, having both his hands on the door, ends up receiving a full dose of a stinking, strangely sickening stench as he isn’t able to cover his mouth and nose.
Shion’s group, being close to the entrance, reflexively covered their mouths and noses with their available hands.
Even the guards further back from the entrance raise a groan, as Renya throws the door open without minding them.
Although they are surprised themselves, the other members instinctively cover their mouths and noses and end up stopping advancing their feet due to the force of the rotten smell. And yet, despite understanding them, Renya didn’t care about that himself.
I guess I have become used to this?
While feeling such doubts, Renya passes through the opened door.
Following him by being one step late, Shion hoists up the torch while Rona and Az stepped inside.
There was a quite large room boasting a lot of space in comparison to the previous single room.
First off, it is bright.
Most likely, if it was only the light of the torch, they wouldn’t be able to comprehend the largeness of the room’s grade of extent, but the ceiling itself is casting a faint light. That itself is filling the entire room with luminance.
The surrounding wall differs to the mud wall up until now. It is a pure white wall as if plastered with mortar.
As for the center of the space, there is a single ebony desk set up there as if somehow trying to be funny. The figure of someone writing something with all their might can be seen sitting on a chair.
At a glance, they can’t find the thing giving off the rotten smell they sensed at the time they opened the door.
But, at this point of time Renya vigilance level rose to the maximum.
There is an air of intimidation originating from the figure writing something in the center of the room.
Warily Renya is clasping the scabbard with his left hand dampened with sweat.
“Who is it… ?” (Az)
That sense of intimidation likely reached Az’s group in Renya’s back.
As Az asks in a hoarse voice, the thing, shaped in the form of a person, stops its writing. Slowly raising its view from the surface of the desk, it turns its sight to Renya’s group standing rock still at the entrance of the room.
By Renya’s judgement it was an odd-looking man.
The light purple hair is tidily combed down on the back. The ears are slightly pointed and long.
The skin’s color is a deep dark brown.
The eyes facing towards Renya’s group, different from other people, have pupils with an almond shape.
With clothes resembling a white robe coiling itself around the body, the already questionable impression of that man is turning even more suspicious.
“Oya oya. Today’s a day with many visitors. I don’t remember having invited anyone though.”
Inclining his head slightly, the voice the man used was somehow quite hard on the ears due to its high pitch.
Rona spoke up as if struggling as she looked at that face directly from the front.
“That is… a devil…” (Rona)
Of course it is a race Renya sees for the first time.
Although he had heard from that little girl about the races inhabiting the center of the continent before coming to this world, he got excited about the question why that devil was on the human race’s continent and even more so within a dungeon.
“Renya, you were right. This fellow is definitely bad news. We won’t be able to escape.” (Az)
Even Az’s voice, lacking the usual calmness, is filled with nothing but impatience.
The only person, not understanding the tricky situation, is only Shion, but seeing the panicked state of the two, although she doesn’t know what is happening, she sets up he sword while her sight is wandering forth and back between the devil and Renya.
“It’s fine for you to not leave this quickly, don’t you agree?” (Devil)
His voice contained ridicule.
Even though his way of talking and his facial expression are tender and intimate, the emotions held within them are something completely polar to those, Renya is sensing.
It’s a feeling totally unsuited for a person.
“As for me, it’s a feeling of wanting to run away after only hearing the things I want to ask.” (Az)
“Hou? I wonder what you want to know? For the time being, let’s hear about it.” (Devil)
“Did a group of around two sets of adventurers came here previously?” (Az)
“Adventurers? Did someone like that come here, I wonder?” (Devil)
The male devil folds his arms in front of his chest as if he is thinking and immediately shakes his head.
“No, as far as I am remembering someone like that hasn’t come here.” (Devil)
“It’s a straight path. There is no way that they haven’t come here.” (Az)
The male devil displayed a troubled expression towards Az’s words, who is putting himself on guard meanwhile.
“Though, saying it honestly, someone who hasn’t come here simply hasn’t come here. Isn’t that the only answer?” (Devil)
“Let’s change the question then.” (Az)
Hearing Az answer, although Renya’s vigilance gauge has already been maxing out, it is demanding to rise to an even further level of vigilance.
Renya guessed that this existence in front of his eyes made it apparent that it was more dangerous than anything else.
“Did about 11 materials for toying with come here?” (Renya)
The party members look at Renya with a startled facial expression.
Without even the leeway to brush off the intensity of their gazes, Renya is fixing his eyes on the male devil.
For a brief period the male devil stared with an unchanging facial expression at Renya’s face. But before long he showed a complacent smile, loosened the arms, which were crossed in front of his breast, and rubbed together his palms.
Imagining this gesture to somehow resemble a fly, Renya frowns.
“You are an interesting guy.” (Devil)
Stopping to rub his hands together, the male devil draws back the chair and stands up.
His body gives off the impression of being lanky, but he isn’t a man of having that much height. Even so the degree of peril, Renya’s group has felt until now, didn’t alleviate much.
“Toys, huh? Toys, you say. Let’s see, how shall I answer this if you ask like that?” (Devil)
Separating his hands from the desk, he spreads them. Without paying mind of Renya’s group at all, the male devil walks slowly until he is close to the wall.
Completely as if being some actor, he suddenly decided to turn around alongside the wall and placed both hands on the pure white wall.
Although the wall is supposed to be solid, the man’s hands slightly sink into the wall.
“Are these things the toys you are asking about?” (Devil)
The man’s hands, which plunged into the wall, completely submerged.
While Renya attentively watches wondering what he is doing, the man was groping about with a rustling sound within the wall for a short while. But having likely found the thing he was looking for, he seized it and extracted it using his crafty hands.
The thing his hands dragged out was…
“That is… Hartz?” (Az)
With a voice dripping with definite dread, Az retreated a step.
Shion’s hands holding the sword are clattering and trembling. Rona suppresses a scream from her mouth with both hands.
Renya instinctively starts to draw his katana but stops himself from doing so.
“O… au… H-He… lp…” (Hartz)
The head dragged out from within the wall by its short-cut blonde hair and being tightly held, was Hartz’ head.
With blank eyes and pleading to be rescued are leaking out from his partly open mouth.
The right half of his face is blank while still having a trace of being a human remaining, but the left half is bleary due to being partially melted. Its state is that you could peek at the bones through the gaps between the muscle fibers.
Renya’s group is frozen due to that abnormality.
“Somehow, from this morning on, fresh food has continuously come rolling in.” (Devil)
Releasing his hands from the blonde hair of Hartz, the male devil thrust his hands into yet another part of the wall.
What his hands dragged out was the head of a person with almost only bones remaining and spare strands of dyed brown hair.
Even though Renya believed it to likely be Zest, there is naturally nothing of his face remaining anymore.
“These guys are indeed very fine materials. It has been fun playing with their moderate stoutness. Furthermore they will increase very soon.” (Devil)
One after another only human heads are rising to the surface of the pure white wall.
Just like Hartz and Zest there were only faint traces of them having been people remaining. Most of them had lost their shape and were festering due to the melting. They weren’t in a state you could bear to look at directly.
Their number certainly is 11.
“We also have various circumstances. For the sake of gathering raw materials for research and partially as hobby, we decided to build a dungeon close to human habitation. Maa, it became a nice fish pond for angling.” (Devil)
Not just the head, but also the hands, with their skin dangling due to the melting, the feet, completely turned into white bones, and such gradually were pushed out from within the wall.
This spectacle could doubtlessly be called a nightmare.
If it were a timid person, they would immediately faint with the scene in front of them. With individual differences between each other, there isn’t anyone amongst Renya’s group losing consciousness over that degree.
But, each of them ends up gulping down with the scene in front of them unable to make even a single move.
“Since I will give you guys a practical lesson down to the nooks of its effectiveness as well, it is fine to not be that scared.” (Devil)
Persisting with a smile to the end, the male devil tells them bluntly.
From the wall in the back of that man, some things with a human shape, though already having lost their humanity, are crawling out with a slithering sound while extending both hands as if pleading to be saved.
“Maa, for now… I wonder whether I will be able to receive you lot like this as well.” (Devil)
He is totally carefree.
His voice doesn’t contain any maliciousness at all.
At the same time as the man said those words, actually enjoying it to do so, the human remains, that crawled out of the wall in his back, rushed forward aiming for Renya’s group.