Wednesday, April 27, 2022 @

Chapter 16 The Hero and His Companions

 I eventually reach the fifth floor of the [Sage's Playground] and proceed deeper and deeper, knocking away the monsters as I go.
 Even though it is the lowest floor, it is still the first dungeon. After defeating the boss and the event monster, the Gargoyle, there are no powerful monsters.
 “You Baskerville!”
 Just as I was about to reach the deepest part of the dungeon, I encountered a group coming back from the back of the dungeon.
 It is Leon, the protagonist of [DunBrave 1]. Ciel and Nagisa, the heroines, are following behind Leon.
 The faces of the three of them showed obvious signs of fatigue. It seems that they had fought off the gargoyles at the end of the dungeon, rested for a while, and then returned.
 “It seems that all three of you are safe. Surely you are the descendants of heroes!”
 “Safe...? How did you know we were in danger?”
 Leon suddenly looks at me with suspicion.
 Is this man, by any chance, suspecting me of being the mastermind behind the Gargoyles? Even though Zenon is a villainous character, this is a very serious false accusation.
 “I don't know about your fearful face, but a powerful monster came out from the depths of the dungeon just now. I was just wondering if you guys had encountered it too”
 “You were attacked by that monster too? I'm surprised you survived”
 “Yeah. I'm okay, but some of our classmates got hurt”
 “Oh no... it's my fault for letting the monster go...!”
 Leon's face is contorted with regret. His childhood friend Ciel is standing next to him, holding his hand in a caring manner.
 “No...? It's not Leon's fault. If Leon hadn't been there, Nagisa and I might have been killed. You protected us...!”
 “But if I'd defeated it properly my classmates wouldn't have been attacked. What kind of a descendant of a hero...!? I'm powerless!”
 Leon's group started to make a commotion with their own regrets. Ciel, his childhood friend, and of course Nagisa are behind them, expressionless and biting their back teeth.
 I shrug my shoulders and try to put a damper on the funeral-like atmosphere.
 “I'm sorry to interrupt your excitement, but those who were hit by the gargoyle are not dead, just wounded. The gargoyle has already been defeated. I've given medicines to the wounded, so they should be fine”
 Leon and Ciel's eyes rolled back... and they cheered.
 “Really? They're safe... thank God!”
 “You're lucky, I'm sure Leon's damage has weakened the enemy. He protected us after all!”
 Leon and Ciel shouted gaily and hugged each other. I exhale bitterly as I watch their joyful faces.
 In the original scenario, Leon would have grown dramatically out of his intense regret because an enemy he had missed had killed his classmate.
 However, Leon in front of me does not seem to be so regretful. In this situation, he may not grow as the scenario suggests.
 Now, what should I do?
 I don't think it's wrong to save my classmates, but I can't imagine how much this will affect his efforts to defeat the Demon Lord.
 I wrinkle my brow and shake my head. There's no use thinking about it from here. For now, let's do what I can for now.
 “Well then, I'd better be going. Take care of yourself and go home”
 “Ah... Baskerville!”
 Leon stops me in a panic as I'm about to go on.
 I turn around to see if he still wants to talk to me... but Leon remains silent with a difficult look on his face and is reluctant to speak.
 “I'm in a hurry. If you have something to say, do it quickly”
 “Thank you. I appreciate it. You gave medicine to a classmate who got hurt, didn't you? You cleaned up my mess”
 I couldn't help but open my eyes to see Leon, who was reluctant to express his gratitude.
 I had never expected that Leon, who had been so hostile to me since I entered the school, would express his gratitude to me.
 He is a hero, after all. He seems to be a man who always does what he is supposed to do.
 “But... Don't get me wrong, okay? I will never forgive an evil like you. You'll get what's coming to you!”
 “Ah, Leon!”
 With these words, Leon walks toward the exit of the dungeon. Ciel follows behind him.
 But... for some reason, Nagisa stays where she is, staring at me.
 “Was it you who killed the gargoyle?”
 “What if I told you I did?”
 “I knew it. You were the only one who wore a different air in the class, but I guess my eyes were not mistaken”
 Nagisa's eyes narrowed and the corners of her lips lifted happily.
 “I'd like to see you make a move. Fighting with the strong is a good way to learn how to be strong”
 Nagisa said nothing more and followed the two who had gone ahead of her.
 I, left behind, look up at the stone ceiling and sigh deeply.
 “Alas... I think I've caught the attention of a troublesome person. I hate to think of all the trouble ahead”
 Snorting lightly and smiling coldly, I proceeded to the deepest part of the dungeon to achieve my goal.

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