On that day, the Japanese islands, surrounded by three low-pressure fronts, were plagued with bad weather on a nation-wide scale.
In Tokyo, on a morning that greeted us with a sky full of heavy clouds, and a slightly chilly temperature, we moved into our new office.
“Holy shit! What the hell is this…?” I mutter reflexively, after opening the door to my own room located on the second floor.
“North European style, I’d say.” Miyoshi answers, after briefly peeking inside.
Sure, I told them to keep it simple.
And, just as I asked them, it’s a neat and simple design.
“But you know…”
While looking at the bagworm-like light hanging down from the ceiling above the dining table, I flinch back from the excessively stylish atmosphere. I can’t settle down at all.
“Well, home is where you make it. I guess I’ll get used to it sooner or later.” I summarize my current mood with a few words, and begin to put away the few things I own.
If I were to fill the massive bookshelves set up on one wall of the living room with technical books, it’d look very groovy. Unfortunately, I don’t possess many of those books in paper form nowadays.
As I didn’t bring much luggage with me, the sorting finishes in less than thirty minutes, and thus I leave through the entrance door, and make my way towards the office on the first floor. On another note, even without going through the entrance way, I can descend to the first floor from the corridor between Miyoshi’s space and mine.
“The first floor really kind of looks like your hobby room, Miyoshi.”
“Hehehe, nice, isn’t it?”
Three Revelations of Eurocave1 are lined up in the dining room. Their inside is still…huh? It’s somewhat full in there, isn’t it?
“I thought that you’d place them in the dining room of your own suite.”
“I don’t drink such large quantities in my own room!”
That’s like saying that you’ll drink large quantities in the office’s dining room…not making such a retort is the trick to get along well with others. At least, it should be.
Once I take a peek at the side of the living room that has already been mostly converted into an office, I see three 30” monitors lined up on a huge L-shaped desk further in, which is already littered with memo pads.
Given that a piece of furniture that seems to be my desk has been placed there as well, I try to sit down on the chair over there. Yep, feels comfortable.
“Senpai, you’ve finished putting away your stuff?”
“Yeah, it was just some clothes and books anyway.”
“Eh? What about tableware or small stuff?”
“At my previous apartment.”
“Previous, you say…what are you going to do about the apartment over there?”
“Since it’s a bother, I will leave it as is for a while.”
“Uwah, you’re swimming in money!”
Well, she’s not wrong there.
No matter how bothersome it might be, I’d have vacated it as quickly as possible before. Even if it’s run down, the rent is pretty high up there. Of course, it’s dirt cheap if compared to the neighborhood, though.
“I wonder, is this a perspective that’s only attainable through flexibility of mind?”
“I think you’re just a slacker.”
Yes, it’s just as you say.
“How about you then, Miyoshi?”
“I finished moving already, you know?”
“Huh? I feel like you didn’t do anything, though.”
“I asked the relocation service, I left it all to them. Even without doing anything, it was like oh wow, weird. Things were packed and moved on their own accord, restoring my room to its usual state in like no time. Well, coordinators and relocation services really are great. This world is just full of magical things.”
“Something so convenient…I didn’t know.”
“The world’s sweet to the rich. The scales have completely fallen off my eyes.”
“Crap. I guess, I will move my stuff step by step, and once the apartment is empty, I will move out.”
“In other words, you’re just going to procrastinate forever like usual, right?”
In the middle of our conversation, the bell at the entrance rings.
Miyoshi checks by glancing on the screen of a PC, and says, “It’s Ms. Naruse.” It appears that the monitors at each place are connected to the PC.
When I open the entrance door, I find Ms. Naruse standing there with a big potted moth orchid in her hands.
As it’s a fairly big plant with around forty big flowers, it looks quite heavy. It’s something you’d usually have delivered…
“Ah, congratulations on your move. This is my gift to you.”
“Wow, that’s amazing. Thank you!”
I express my thanks while thinking something rude along the lines of, But aren’t moth orchids kind of difficult to raise?, and accept her gift.
“Umm, as you’re at a point where you can take a little break from moving, there’s a request I have as your exclusive full-time deputy chief. Is that alright for you?”
After finishing the congratulations for moving in and having eaten some soba – albeit from a convenience store – and in the middle of chatting, with a drink in one hand, Ms. Naruse suddenly fixes her sitting posture, and broaches a new topic like that.
“Why so formal? It’s fine, as long it’s something we can do.” Miyoshi answers frankly after seeing how Ms. Naruse seems unnaturally nervous.
“U-Umm…actually, we’d like you to search for a certain orb.”
“Search for an orb?”
Miyoshi and I look at each other. Just what’s going on?
“What kind of monster drops it?”
“We don’t know.”
“Umm, it drops in Yoyogi, doesn’t it?”
“That’s something we don’t know either.”
“The orb, <Different World Language Comprehension>, has dropped only once in the world, at the Kiryas Kul’yegan Dungeon in Russia. However, it hasn’t been publicly announced what kind of monster dropped it.”
<Different World Language Comprehension>, yet another skill orb with an incredible name.
“So, why do you need that orb?”
Ms. Naruse sighs once, and after forbidding us to speak about it since it’s top secret, she begins to explain.
“In short, the orb’s effect has been used to translate a dungeon’s epitaph, but at the present time you don’t know whether that translation is true or false?”
“That’s right. All countries around the world are searching for that orb to verify it.”
“Senpai, that sounds like it’ll be super profitable!”
The Oumi trader jumps up with $ signs in her eyes.
“Eh? Assuming we got our hands on that one, would it actually be fine to put it up for auction?”
“Ah, I see…”
“For me, it would be a tremendous help if we could have you sell it to the JDA…”
“In that respect, a free economy is really inconvenient, as it’d be hard to make us sell it to the government, right?” I say while smiling.
“We know the types of monsters in that Kiryas-something dungeon, don’t we? Are those present in Yoyogi, too?”
Ms. Naruse nods.
Yoyogi is extremely wide. Even globally, it’s one of the leading dungeons in regards to environments and monster diversity.
Floors that have several sections with different environments have also been confirmed. Not just the floor boss, but even the respective floor sections have their own boss-like monsters.
“Almost all of them have been verified.” Saying so, she hands us a list of the monsters inhabiting the Kiryas dungeon.
I scan this list together with Miyoshi.
“Language comprehension means that there are some kinds of intelligent monsters capable of talking, doesn’t it?”
“Something like vampires?”
“Yeah, right, that kind of.”
By the way, vampires haven’t been spotted so far.
Of course it’s possible for them to exist like Miyoshi said, but──
“It’s probably this one here.”
I point at the name of a monster.
Blood Clan Shaman.
The goatman-like monsters, which have a high tendency to live and work in groups, have created clans in specific areas. This one here represents those among the clan which have an occupation allowing them to use magic.
Miyoshi asks while looking curious, “Why do you think so?”
“Don’t you consider it to be strange?”
“Strange as in what?”
“Ms. Naruse, who gives monsters their names?”
“Generally the WDA announces the name, which has been suitably assigned to a monster by its discoverer or the country, as the official name. However, in case the monster dropped a raw material item, its name will be revised since the item’s name includes the monster’s name in most cases.”
“That’s the part in question here.”
“It looks like most of the monsters are assigned names from Earth’s mythology or game worlds referencing it.”
“The official name added to its item is something specified by the dungeon, so to speak. And yet, the orbs that have dropped so far usually possess effects in keeping with what we would expect a monster of that kind to drop.”
“I wonder, why do the orbs, which we consider to be proper for a monster to drop, properly drop from said monsters?”
After seeing the orbs that can drop from slimes, I believed it to be very odd.
That’s because they’re all the kind of orbs that a human would expect a slime to drop.
Why is an unknown creature from a different world (?), which we named slime, matching down to its very nature, which shouldn’t have been known at the time when it was named, with slimes from Japanese games?
“The guy who designed this game, understands the culture on Earth quite well. You might even say, he’s extremely well-acquainted with it.
Ms. Naruse listens with a dumbfounded expression.
“Accordingly, there are three possibilities I can think of.”
I raise three fingers.
“First, it’s mere coincidence.”
Probability-wise it’s impossible, though.
“Second, the existence of an eidos, as it’s called by Plato.” 2
Even if that’s the case, what about the matching names?
Well, you might argue that the dungeon card is displayed in the native language, resulting in the monsters’ names changing based on our knowledge.
“And the third, is the possibility that an Earthling designed the dungeons, I’d say.”
“Really? Considering all of it, it’s the one possibility that fits the most.” I take a sip of coffee while smiling as if I’ve made a joke.
“Anyway, if you come to such a conclusion, the handling of words and characters in Earth’s mythology, and especially around Celtic mythology, is the same as magic.”
“That means, the monsters that use magic among the highly social monsters, possess a skill related to words and characters?”
Miyoshi stabs into the heart of the matter.
“Correct. As far as I can see on the list, it’s only the goatmen who are so social that they establish clans.”
Ms. Naruse takes out Yoyogi’s monster list.
“Unfortunately, there’s no blood clan in Yoyogi, but there’s a moon clan.”
A goatmen moon clan.
Deep inside Yoyogi’s 14th floor, in the opposite direction of the stairs to the 15th floor. A section located in an area that seems very depopulated.
“But senpai, are there so many shamans in one clan?”
Generally it’s one, or at most several, I’d guess.
“That’s the point, isn’t it? But I think another individual might immediately turn into a shaman, if the previous one is gone.”
“That’s a groundless assumption, no?”
“Well yeah. But something like that happens quite often in nature, doesn’t it?”
But then again, I suppose that still doesn’t apply to mammals.
“Also, going back and forth down to the 14th floor sounds like it’ll take an amazing amount of time, don’t you think?”
Ms. Naruse provides an answer in regards to that, “On average, the direct route takes two days.”
“How about going with the expedition style of building a base at some place?”
Expedition style is a term originating from mountain climbing terminology.
It’s a method that can be used to go on adventurers by building a base camp inside the dungeon, constructing camps each time you descend several floors from the base camp, and having several support members transport goods between the camps.
On the other hand, the method of capturing a dungeon with just a small party is called adventurer style.
“No, I think it’ll work with adventurer style.”
“Eh? Really?” Ms. Naruse asks in surprise.
I turn around to Ms. Naruse, and irresponsibly dodge the question, “Well, I have understood your request. I will try to look for it a bit.”
“Umm…please don’t try the impossible, okay?”
“Of course. After all, it’s my dream to continue leading a slacker’s life. Well then, since there’s a few things that need to be prepared, let’s leave it at that for today.”
“Understood. I will go back to the JDA for the time being, since I need to inform the section chief.”
“Please don’t tell him about the previous shaman conjectures yet. It’ll be a pain if it leads to even more complications.”
“Okay. For the time being I’m going to only report that you will undertake the request.”
“Please tell him to not expect too much out of it, okay?”
“Good work today~”
The two of us exit through the entrance hall, and see off Ms. Naruse as she goes back to the JDA.
I feel like it would also have been fine for her to inform him through her cell phone, but there might be some other circumstances.
“Senpai, are you really going? The 14th floor. We still haven’t even descended to the second floor, you know?”
“Well, won’t it work out one way or another?”
“Ah, come to think of it, you were ranked number one in the world, weren’t you? I completely forgot about it since you don’t give me such an impression at all.”
“You sure are a rude girl. But then again, I don’t have that impression of myself either.”
We look at each other, and burst into laughter.
“Well, I will immediately scurry home if it looks dangerous. Also──”
I ask Miyoshi to procure a certain item.
Miyoshi pulls a surprised face, but agrees to look for it.
“As for the rest…”
I take out four orbs and place them in front of me. <Storage>, <High Recovery>, <Water Magic>, and <Physical Resistance>.
“Well, we have to test <Storage> and <High Recovery> anyway, right? Leaving <Storage> aside, I can get another <High Recovery> in the middle of November. Since I have <Safe>, you’ll use this one, Miyoshi.”
“Understood. The remaining ones are──”
“Excluding these four, two <High Recovery>, three <Water Magic>, and seven <Physical Resistance>.”
“If you’re careless, you could get a <Physical Resistance> everyday, after all.”
“As long as we reserve enough for ourselves, one each for you and me, it’s alright to sell all of the extras. The price will likely go down gradually, too.”
“Got it. Then let’s have a look how things turn out by putting up three <Physical Resistance> and one <High Recovery> for the next auction.”
“Four orbs twice a month, huh? Isn’t that kind of low?”
“No, senpai. Four orbs have been officially announced to have appeared in Yoyogi Dungeon last year.”
Oh, which reminds me, I think that square guy said something about that…
“E-Either way, use these if you’re going to come with me to the 14th floor. Also, I look forward to a report about the usage, okay?”
“It has turned into something like a field test to see how many skills you can acquire at maximum, hasn’t it?”
While revealing a stiff smile, Miyoshi touches <Storage>.
“It’s traditional to shout 『I’m going to stop being a human!』 during the first use of an orb.”
“Please tell me something like that a lot earlier!”
The touched orb turns into light, scatters, and is absorbed into Miyoshi’s body, as if coiling around it, starting with the parts that got into contact with the light.
It’s the first time for me to watch an orb being used from the outside. So that’s how it looks, eh?
“So, how is it?”
“Mmh~, somehow it’s a weird sensation, as if my body has been reconstructed.”
Yeah, yeah, that’s it.
“Senpai, you’re going to get ready as well, right?”
“Yes.” Confirming, I take out my own <Physical Resistance>, <Water Magic>, and <High Recovery>.
“I hope that my head won’t go boom due to acquiring too many skills all at once.”
“Scanners3!? Please stop. The room will get dirty.”
“That’s the part you worry about!?”
And then we absorbed the remaining orbs.
Luckily our heads didn’t explode.
After having safely acquired several skills, and since it was still early in the day, I went to Yoyogi to test out the skills. Over there, I ran into Simon’s group who were just then walking on the opposite side.
Why is Simon here at such a time!? Even if you’re going to dive, how about doing it a lot earlier…
『Hmm, this is Yoyogi? What a surprisingly neat entrance.』
『Well, it’s a dungeon located right in the middle of the city center. The early floors seem to have quite the draw for some amusement.』
Natalie answers Simon, who admires the entrance area, while opening Yoyogi’s pamphlet.
“Hey, isn’t that Simon’s team?”
“Eeh? Wait, the real deal? Not Falcon Industry’s Simon model, but the original?”
Because the duo next to me is practically shouting things like that, friggin’ Simon turns his head in this direction. It’s what you call the cocktail party effect.
『Oh? Isn’t that Yoshimura!?』
That Simon is friendly to an extent you wouldn’t expect of a soldier.
Due to him coming over while eagerly waving his right hand, the two next to me pull a surprised face, and turn my way. Stop it! You make me stand out, you know!?
『Y-Yoo, Simon. It’s been a while.』
The first thing Simon, who came close, says to me after seeing my get-up is, “『Yoshimura. You’re going to dive into the dungeon in such an outfit?』
『? It’s my usual outfit, though?』
『Crazy. You don’t care about your life?』
『I do! It’ll be fine as long as I don’t approach any places that look like I could die!』
『In a dungeon you never know what might happen, do you?』 Simon says, obviously astonished, but I mean, I won’t go to any places where I don’t know what might happen to begin with.
At that moment, the entrance area becomes noisy. Once Simon and I look back, a woman that seems to be the personification of the word 『dignified』 is walking in our direction.
Kimitsu Iori. First Lieutenant belonging to the dungeon capture unit stationed at the Narashino Garrison, and Japan’s ace, with an established reputation in dungeon exploration.
Seeing her approach, Simon says in panic, 『Fuck, it’s Iori. Come to think of it, it looks like you guys are offering orbs for sale again. I’m quite interested, but for now, I’m off.』
『Why all of a sudden?』
As I look at him rush off in a hurry, with a puzzled expression, he says 『I can’t handle Iori』, and leaves while waving his hand and winking. He’s quite a playful guy.
“That guy always acts like this whenever he spots me.” First Lieutenant Iori, who has walked over, says to no one in particular.
“Is that so?”
Once I give a suitable reply, she looks at me and furrows her eyebrows.
Huh? Did I do something? Sure, I’m acquainted with Simon, but it’s not like I’m an American spy or anything.
“You, are you going to dive into the dungeon in such an outfit?”
…So that’s what bugs her.
I get slightly irritated at Simon, who looks this way from the other side, does a thumbs up while laughing with an expression that seems to say, “Look, I told you,” and descends into the dungeon.
“It looks like you two are quite close. Are you an acquaintance of Simon?”
“Yes, well. Having said that, actually I only met him at an orb sale, it’s not like we’re that clo──”
- Wine storage, look here: https://www.eurocave.jp/item/revelation.html
- Not going all Platonism here. If you want to know what eidos means, refer to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theory_of_forms as first step into the concepts of non-physical ideas and concepts. By the way, a very nice explanation in the Japanese subculture about eidos can be found in Mahouka.
- A horror/sci-fi movie aired in 1981