It is Wrong to be the Warrior Captain in the Dungeon?
Thank you for reading my fanfic!
My mother language is not English, so please be patient about the grammatical issues.
I don't own the Overlord(オーバーロードŌbārōdo?) novel or anime series created by Kugane Maruyama.
I don't own Dungeon ni Deai wo Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darou ka novel, and anime series, written by Fujino Ōmori.
Please enjoy the story!
Chapter 1: Death of the Captain, a Second Chance
His consciousness focused to the absolute limit; the man stepped in with unbelievable speed! For a moment stepping in the realm of heroes!
Without missing a single moment, Brain and Climb opened their eyes and watched him with all their attention and focus—and faster than any of them, the world went quiet…
"Farewell. Gazef Stronoff. I never hated you…"
Just at the moment, the man raised his sword, the most likely last sentences he ever heard entered his mind, and in an instant! His body went limp…
All his strength, all his determination turned to dust at the moment he moved. His heart stopped; his muscles refused to answer his call. Even with the kingdom's treasures in his arsenal, all his efforts worth nothing, for he faced a real monster. A monster with an unimaginable, unbeatable nature.
A man he previously considered a savior, a possible ally, and maybe, a friend, ended his charge just like that… Poor warrior captain, under such a short time, he can't even realize, his hopes were of naught. That, his battle was hopeless from the beginning.
His mouth dry, before realizing what really happened, his heart throbbed its last rhythm…
His arms lowered, his muscles turning smooth noodles, he can't possibly hold his weapon, nor his adamantine hard armor, nor his own weight… he just… started to fell forward like a great, unbearable weight weighing him down.
Time moved in snail pace around him… all his accomplishments, all his life, like an absurd play, playing before his eyes faster than any outsider can perceive. From his earliest years as a simple commoner boy to being a mercenary, through his triumph in the grand tournament… to his rise as the kingdom's warrior captain... he saw it all, experienced it all once more.
It was his beginning, and in the end, the last scene of the robed monster before him forever engraved in his brain.
"Sorcerer King Ainz Ooal Gown! My name is Gazef Stronoff, the Warrior-Captain of the Re-Estize Kingdom! I formally request a duel with you!"
And now, as one of the last picture, his foolish challenge remained, making him remember how foolish, how naïve he was. Challenging a monster of this nature… his loss was guaranteed… worse, he knew it all along.
Yet, even knowing his loss, he hesitated not to challenge this monster. To protect his kingdom, his just king, and his home, he threw away everything, challenged a skeletal creature, a monster which called other horrible creatures to life… a magic caster that destroyed the kingdom's army under a few moments. A possible ally, their shortsightedness possibly pushed in the enemy's arms.
Indeed, he saw it all… and it made him think for a moment: "Why do I see all of this? I can't die like this… do I? I barely moved… what happened? I feel so… tired…"
Thinking of this, first, fear filled him, then grief, in truth, these two, and several other emotion rapidly changed pace under the man slowly fallen forward. Helpless, powerless to do anything…
He met people who were resurrected previous, almost all spoke about the same thing, the same act he experiences just now. If that's the case… that means he lost. Truly lost before the battle even started, he lost the duel, he knew he would lose even before it commenced…
"So this is… I lost…" his world slowly went dark, his heart ceased to throb since several rhythms. This was the end, he lost. His inability pushed the kingdom in the hands of the monster, sealing the fate of whoever residing in it.
He only prayed, if there was a god or even gods out there… if there was one the priests of the different religions ceaselessly prattled about, then they will not let this Ainz fellow continue his massacre and his evil ways. Even if the chance was slim, he hoped there was someone out there who cares about his last plea, wordless plea… and save his people.
Wordless, Ainz stepped forward to catch Gazef's body. His sword fell from nerveless fingers, and fell to the ground, his face frozen into perpetual disbelief and horror.
And thus, under less than a second, the battle was over. The strongest warrior of the kingdom lost… just like that fallen dead. Not even a second passed since his charge started. Yet, Gazef Stronoff, the kingdom's warrior captain died just like that.
Yet, there was no way, or even word to comprehend it.
Nobody knew what was going on.
"What on earth happened…?"
"The hell should I know!"
Brain gave voice to an angry cry, answering the plea of the young man in white armor.
"What's wrong? Get up! Gazef!"
His friend… at least he heard his voice before darkness claimed him. Yes… Gazef heard Brain, but understood not what he is speaking, his voice was so distant, and this place was so dark… lonely and cold… he certainly expected the afterlife would be more vibrant… more, majestic. But there was nothing here; only lonely darkness awaited him.
"The priests certainly overhyped this place…"
With dark humor, he gave his opinion on the endless void now he found himself, chuckling low, somewhat bitter, mourning his own helplessness.
Gazef Stronoff was never really a religious man. He believed companionship, and the strength of people, that, success comes from hard work, not endlessly praying to an unknown deity, not asking for help, but striving towards betterment. In another word, the inner strength of the individuals earned through constant effort, and hard work.
Naturally, he was always respectful, giving the proper care what others think, trying never to belittle others for their beliefs. But always staying on his path, never deriving from it for a moment, constantly training to reach a higher level. Yes, that kind of man was he. But where it led him? To his destruction…
"Brain, Climb, your majesty... please forgive me…"
He was tired, for an unknown reason, he was exhausted beyond measure. Falling in the darkness, time seemed meaningless in this place.
"I just wish… I just wish I could go back in the fight, just once more, to warn them, to try harder, try harder to convince his majesty and those stupid nobles… never to attack Gown-dono and the imperial army. Even if it means our loss, dead can rarely get the chance of proper victory and continuation…"
Alas, it was only half-truth in a world where undead was constant sight… still, if he would receive this chance, he would undoubtedly die in peace once completed his task.
The man knew not how much time passed, or even where he was in real… he only knew he was tired. Yet, he felt, it is time to wake up, something deep inside urged him. His sense of danger screamed to get up and get into action, and he felt one more thing…
'Inhale! Exhale!' his chest moved slowly, up and down, air filled his lungs.
Gazef opened his eyes slowly, blinking. His vision still blurry, feeling something hard behind his back.
"Hmmm…" looking around, the environment seemed to be strange. Like he was somehow dropped in a cavern system.
"Damn! I barely see anything!"
Cursing under his breath, rubbing out the sleep from his eyes, the former warrior captain right away recognized, almost everything was dark, only the slight yellow lights near the ceiling provided some source of vision.
He was trained himself to fight even in circumstances where the visibility was reduced or lost one or two senses — doing this without the use of martial arts.
After all, monsters, demi-humans, ruffians with dirty tricks, or even magic casters with the ability to see in the dark or with skills — which were able to rob people from their senses — have no mercy on those who lacked the ability to fight even blinded. In fact, he struggled with opponents utilized this tactic in the past, almost dying under the process a few times.
Under battle, it was essential to conserve your stamina and make tactical decisions. Every use of the martial arts, or as other people called, the use of the so-called "Warrior's Magic" drained the user's endurance and exhausted the mind. Using martial arts just to increase the sharpness of his vision and senses in under bad visibility was the waste of energy if it served no other purpose.
Squinting his eyes, walking closer to the wall and touching it, it was slightly wet. Watching it closer the wall was colored brown, in several spots covered with fresh moss, like it grown on the walls just now.
"Hmm, I wonder how I got there… augh…" catching to his head, then watching his palm, he must have really hit his head hard, his hand covered with blood, and in an instant, he remembered what happened.
"What happened? I remember… our duel with Gown-dono…" if it can be really called a duel at all, he basically collapsed before even moved.
"That…" and now, everything started to come back, the darkness, the cold of that place, Ainz last words to him.
"Farewell. Gazef Stronoff. I never hated you…"
His heart started to let out a rhythm before starting to thump heavier, all of this out of the sheer realization and tragedy. Yet, he can't accept it! He will never accept this possibility! He will deny it with all his strength!
"Dammit!" he hit the wall with considerable strength, and under his sheer might a sizable piece fell down from the wall, leaving a deep depression resembling his clenched fist. The whole area trembled from the strike.
'Breath in… breath out…'
He, the kingdom's strongest fighter die just like that!? Impossible! Even Fluder Paradyne, the Baharuth Empire's strongest magic caster would be hard pressed against him, and that is without the kingdom's treasures. Equipped with those items, he was sure he had the chance to defeat that old man. Even if he were a simple warrior — a warrior who said to be inferior to pure magic casters out of range difference — he would still have the chance! He, dying before even starting to move… absurd! He can't accept such absurdity!
"Even if my enemy…"
And thus, realization dawned who he raised his sword against, who he challenged to an all-out duel. Gazef can't help but laugh in shame, shaking his head with a few tears rolling down his face.
"Gown-dono… to beat me like this…" Gazef looked around once more, smiling somewhat shameful. It seemed, he finally accepted his fate. "But what did I expected? Gown-dono is a formidable magic caster. A monster, hiding behind a mask…"
Honestly, from the beginning, he was prepared to die. Against the man who dispatched those Slane bastards so easily he struggled against... Against a man — or more like a monster — who made an army of more than two hundred thousand strong ran, cowering with their tail between their legs? Beaten, greatly reduced in numbers… he knew his chances.
"If twenty thousand remained… that would be a lucky guess…"
Basically, the whole left wing died under a moment. More than 70000 men died under the first minute of the battle under the charge, and it was only the beginning of the massacre! What came after that, he doesn't want to remember. It was too horrific even to recall it properly, or even partially…
He still shuddered to remember them! Those, horrid tentacle goats with many mouths. Only out of his sheer will he did not crouch down and cry, vomiting in the corner, going insane. He was sure, many who survived that battle would do just that, going mad after what they witnessed what happened on the battlefield that day.
"Even Razor Edge was unable to starch their thick hide." and he used various martial arts to raise his physical capabilities to his absolute limits. Even as one who was able to sense the weakness of the enemy, and the chance of his win, he charged against them, hoping his senses divined a wrong chance of success.
"Those creatures just don't have a weakness. They were invincible… My chance to injure them basically was zero from the beginning." In truth, the sword — the royal treasure that said to be so sharp it can cut through any metal, and armor like paper — bent in a direction Gazef thought impossible previous. He was honestly surprised it remained intact after the strike.
"My arm almost broke under pressure, yet, it worth nothing…" he hit the wall continuously, chuckling helplessly. Then… looking down at his bleeding fist, he clenched it stronger. Out of anger or shame, it did not matter, he decided, if there is a way to get back, he will have it. He will not let desperation overwhelm him.
"But… maybe this is a chance…" looking around; he spotted several things on himself.
"It seems, the royal treasures still with me, or, some of them…" he found Razor Edge on its sheath, hanging gently from his side. Also, a medallion hung from his neck — a necklace called the amulet of immortality.
This item provided limited regeneration to its bearer. Even now he felt the cut on the back of his head, and his fist healed slowly but steadily, his muscles turning relaxed, less sore with each moment.
It was an absurd amount of healing for most under a short time, yet, Gazef always thought it slow. It most likely cannot heal a neck, cut open in time. If the injury is lethal, the person will bleed out before the cut, or damage had been healed properly.
'Exhale…' Exhaling a few times, the former warrior captain, the strongest men in the Kingdom collected himself. There was no time to waste. He needs to get back to his king… wherever he was…
"Now then…" Gazef looked forward. Even without the Gauntlet of Endurance which provided an endless amount of stamina, the amulet of immortality helped to complement some of his lost endurance; he already felt himself less strained, his muscles more relaxed.
"Even if it's the underworld, I will find a way back! Your majesty! Climb! Brain! Everyone! I will come back to you!" the lights of determination lit anew in his black eyes, staring in the badly lit corridor. "Your majesty, wait for me. Gown-dono, I am sorry, I just can't let things unfinished! Even if I asked not to resurrect me! If a chance is given! I live to protect the kingdom!"
Ainz was still a monster, but an honorable one as it. Gazef had to give this to the man.
He only hoped, Ainz regained a slight sprite of his humanity after his death, and the let beaten up army go after his defeat — though, it was only a distant dream. If Gazef wanted to be more realistic, he only hoped, Climb and Brain would not attack the man right away, and Ainz would let them go as he promised. That was… a more practical approach than the first version.
"There is no meaning wasting any more time here…" Many people would be freaked out by a situation like this, curling in the corner and crying. Yet, Gazef was not an everyday man, he was confident both of his abilities, and end goal. Wasting time here may cost precious lives, the sacrifice he will not be willing to make in any way. He was a collected man, with a purpose, and people to protect. He can't possibly let desperation overwhelm him!
"Hmm, but where am I? Is this, some kind of dungeon?"
Just now, measuring his environment, looking around one last time, checking nothing left behind, Gazef Stronoff, the kingdom's Warrior Captain started his journey, prepared to face anything standing between him, and his goal.
Be it demons, demi-humans, humans or monsters of any kind. He encountered plenty enough from the said creatures to know the best way for their elimination. He was confident in his abilities, and he will be damned letting others stop him without a fight.
"Even if it is the underworld, I will not give up without fighting… I will see this through!"
Fortunately, or unfortunately, he hadn't had to wait too long for a challenge, for in the next dozens of steps a strange noise hit his ears.
'Crack! Crack! Crack!'
Looking behind his back, a strange sight awaited him. The ceiling and the walls literally cracked open, sprouting strange creatures of peculiar shape.
"Ants, shadows? Some weird rabbit?" Gazef mumbled. Measuring their appearance right away, reaching the golden handle of his sword.
Some of the creatures were red ants, monsters with four legs and two arms. Even more, resembled dark humanoid monsters those had long arms with three claws that are sharp like knives. But there were a few, who looked like huge rabbits with needle-like fur, and had evil eyes…
All of them was equally vicious; all of them thirst for his blood; he was sure of it.
"One, two, three…" he counted them rapidly, coming in the next conclusion. "Five ants, ten shadow creature, three rabbits…" he clicked his tongue. "I need to be careful."
Albeit, he counted as the strongest fighter in the Kingdom of Re-Estize, only fools would underestimate their opponents judging their appearance… not if the said enemy had the numerical superiority. Not if the enemy was unknown for the fighter, rarely fighting similar creatures before.
"Just like back then, heh, against those angels…?" Remembering his fight against the elite unit of the Slane Theocracy and their summons, and how miserably he was beaten, he knew too well how much numerical superiority means, as well, hos sour defeat taste. If possible, he rather avoided it.
"[Sense Weakness]! [Possibility Sense]!" Gazef right away activated his martial arts, and his vision widened right away, spotting the weak spots on the enemy's defenses, his mind calculating his chances of victory.
Risking his chances now would be nothing more than foolish. Foolish considering his situation. Foolish considering his environment. Stupid, considering he wore no armor at all, just some peasant clothes that offered no protection.
This two art would cost almost nothing, nothing if we considered the powers of his amulet and the fact he will go against enemies who visibly thirst for his blood, moreover, unknown for him.
"Let's get over with this!"
And thus, he revealed his weapon, taking a proper stance.
"[Pace of the Wind]!" Gazef's body lit up in a strange light, signing the activation of his martial art. Even in his exhausted state, a man who was able to use more than six martial arts at once can bear this much.
"Shuu…" breathing out, then exhaling the fuggy air of this underground dungeon, Gazef felt his body filled with energy. His muscles are stiffening, making him more agile and faster in an instant.
He was an experienced veteran, and saw many bug-like creatures in the past, yet, he felt somewhat uneasy fighting against those shadows. He knew too well, monsters always hid one, or two, or many tricks on their sleeves, and he expected no less from these creatures.
Even if his [Possibility Sense] whispered a minimal amount of failure rate… The best he can do now is to open with an essential tactic, try to dodge attacks and measure the enemy's capabilities and tactic before doing anything rash.
Immediately, sensing the danger, one of the ants' charged against him, baring its vicious chewing organ.
Gazef roared, and the creature reached him under a few moments. Yet, his speed was otherworldly, blurry — others might say superhuman.
Under a moment, Gazef dodged the creature's attack, and it was only a flash — the sword said to be capable of slicing armor no matter the material — cut the creature at the half without resistance.
"This way easy…" honestly, he expected more resistance from a creature that bore carapace armor.
Insectoid beings usual had their natural carapace that was highly resistant against all kind of damage and effects, sometimes even resisted magic. Yet, remembering what kind of weapon he held in his hand, what Ainz said… the scruple descended on his mind for a moment disappeared in an instant, replaced with a confident smirk.
"Of course… what am I thinking…"
Shaking his head and chuckling, his focus returned, recognizing the creatures charged against him, not one by one, but in groups.
"They most likely not mindless. Or even if mindless, they have some survival instinct… good, I like a challenge."
Using his speed, and perfectly trained strength, Gazef continued to fight. Fight, fight and fight!
The Amulet of Immortality made him recover stamina faster than losing it. It was too easy, almost too easy…
'Slash! Slash! Slash!'
With each strike, more than one creature fall, exploding, turning into dust and leaving a strange crystal.
The creatures had no chance against Razor Edge and its wielder. They were only able to see a blur, and a green flash — that was the sword's blade — before falling.
Gazef was a proficient blade user, the best swordsman in the kingdom. A warrior who was renowned and well known in the surrounding countries. A man, who the neighboring nations deemed dangerous, and considered a security threat, in so much to send special units against, him... setting clever traps just to eliminate his person in his most vulnerable moment…
With more than one and half decade practice and fighting experience behind his back, sparing not a creature, he aimed his strikes to lessen their number as soon as possible. Even with his capabilities, and the enemy's inferior strength, he knew too well what it means if they surround him.
The last creature fell into dust, leaving strange stones as he pulled out his enchanted blade.
"Hmm, strange stones…" Gazef inspected one of the stones left behind by the monster's carcass.
"I wonder…" he had an idea, but wasting more time here would do no good.
He was sure; if he spends more time here, more creature will appear. It was like the walls born them; it was actually the third group he dispatched under a minute — all arising from the walls, the ceiling, or from the ground. It was, odd, in a sense.
Thinking nothing of it, stuffing a few stones in his pockets, he left the corridor behind, heading forward.
"If this is the underworld, then the way must be up…" he mumbled, and indeed it was a sensible idea.
Every underground dungeon must have an exit, an exit which usually positioned in the upper levels. Even as a soldier, he knows that…
"Hmm, I wonder…"
He heard a few stories from adventurers where a teleportation formation led to the exit or even the entrance of the dungeon — A place which is in a few chases usually sent them to the deepest level of the place, often, to eliminate the opposition sending them into a monster's nest.
If that's that case, heading up, he will most likely encounter more and stronger enemies, or in reverse, the opposition will be weaker as his way led upward.
The first possibility had only a minimal chance; it was the minority of the case; he needs to risk going up, as it was the more reasonable possibility, and the more frequent occurrence.
"Let's hope that's the case… let's hope; this place is not endless as that priest prattled about the underworld — endless wandering and suffering — my ass…" It was not often Gazef swore, and he usually refrained from it when he was in grand open.
He was the king's bodyguard, and the kingdom's first warrior, member of the loyalist faction. Doing so would picture the king in a bad light, a picture those hyena nobles would jump like hungry dogs on a fresh steak.
In the current situation, that was the last thing Ramposa needed; the old king had enough concern without worrying about that. His kingdom already in the verge of civil war, and with this loss, the survivor nobles had a new reason to rise against him and challenge his rule.
He only hoped Climb and Brain would stand on his side in the time of need. He just hoped the king's children would stand on his side in a time of need.
Shaking his head, he will have time to think later in a safer place. But now…
"I need to find a way out first; after that, I can worry about the rest…"
Thought, many things concerned Gazef's mind just now, as well he had no idea if he will ever find the exit of this place, he decided it will be the concern of his future self, not his current.
"No time to waste…" Grabbing on his sword, he once again set forward, seeking the way on the upper floors.
A few hours of wandering later, he found a few ramps that led on the upper levels. For that, Gazef was glad, and it seemed this is the way out, as the more levels he left behind, the weaker and less enemy he encountered.
"This place is like a labyrinth…" Gazef clicked his tongue annoyed… and indeed it was. Many times he found a way down, forcing him to turn around and search another way — encountering no other sensible life forms just monsters wherever he went. Yet, he was glad, the upper he went, the weaker monsters he met.
For example, since two levels, he did not meet any ant creatures or any moth like flying monsters. That he was glad — those two was honestly annoying with their corrosive long ranged attacks, and with that poisonous pollen, they left behind.
Gazef can shrug of toxic, and even acidic effects somewhat, using Martial Arts, but he rather not wasted his stamina on that. As well, it had a limit on how much poison or any other harmful effect he can resist. Even his body had limits, even with the Medallion of Immortality, if his body receives too much damage, he will die.
"At least, the monsters become weaker and weaker as I head up… that's a plus…"
On the other way, the monsters until now he encountered were easy prey for the warrior captain. Even those ants were falling like flies under his blade, not speaking those creatures he can only classify as goblins — albeit, strangely, their intelligence was lower than the ones he encountered in the kingdom — they were nothing more than an annoyance for now.
"It is hard to imagine them act more unreasonable like back then. At least those goblins in the kingdom, and around the capital worked somewhat together to make us work harder, using some tactic, but these…" Gazef clicked his tongue annoyed. "…these are just swinging their primitive clubs like animals, charging against me without fear of their life."
Back in the kingdom, there were times when Gazef and his soldiers were dispatched to eradicate the pest directly threatened the people. Times when the king or even the Golden Princess received urgent news about the monster gathering for a possible raid… having no time to spare to post an assignment for the adventurer's guild, then wait it out until a team takes it, he, and his soldiers were sent to eradicate them. Usually speaking…
"It was sensible…"
He and his soldiers usually resided in the capital. Giving them the command to go, and kill those lowly monsters was easier, as well cheaper than hiring adventurers. Also, it was good practice for his soldiers.
They lived in a dangerous world filled with monsters beyond imagination; this served their growth. There were even times when Gazef himself accompanied the Blue Rose and the Red Drop, the kingdom's two adamantine ranked adventurer group for certain missions served the interest of his country.
"Yeah, good times…" he mused, remembering their action together.
Thought, he encountered different creatures down there, from goblins to huge moths, to lizard creatures, to huge ants to those strange shadows, he was still somewhat concerned...
If it would be an open space with a high ceiling, against flying opponents, Gazef couldn't do much without ranged weaponry. His only option would be running away, hoping the enemy gave up on the pursuit. If that option were out, luring them into a closed-off space where he can reach them with his sword, or hit them with something that would force them to the ground would also work.
"Well, let's hope that never happens. Hopefully, these stones worth something…" remembering what he heard from the adventurer's about monster parts, he was sure he would get some coin in exchange of these stones, and the few monster parts left behind after those creatures exploded.
Even if this was the underworld he found himself, some kind of exchange system surely exist here… Of course, assuming any sentient life lives here which was sensible enough not to attack him right away…
"If I ever get out, I need a new armor until I find the kingdom's treasures… I have a few coins in me barely…"
Naturally, going in war, often the soldiers left their money behind in a safe place. Even if they died, their family could keep the money. If they would bring it with themselves in the battle, the enemy or even their own companions would just plunder their cold, dead bodies after dying on the battlefield.
"That's how humans worked in war… always seeking opportunity and wealth…"
Thinking of this, Gazef already cut down a massive amount of creatures heading upward — every monster acting like he was some kind of infestation they had to purge, charged against him without a second thought — the man managed to collect a hefty amount of crystals, and some monster parts left behind because of this reason.
He doesn't know what use he will have them later, but he had a few ideas…
Anyway, it was better to have them than regret later. He found no harm picking them up and carrying them around. His leather pouch and his pockets were already full thought… he can bring not much more without a bag to collect them.
"Hmm, it seems, listening to the nonsense stories of that burly woman worth the effort and the time…"
Remembering the few times when he and the Blue Roses meet, Gazef clearly remembered the chatty nature of one of their members.
He was a good audience when it comes to that — hearing the nobles accusations, and senseless prattle day by day on his king's side forced him to be one — but Gagaran was just too much, even for him. Her mouth never ceased to move; it was even worse when she was actually drunk and tried to bed him.
"The Lovely Warrior Full of Mystery…" he mumbled and chuckled, remembering the self-proclaimed name of the adamantine rank adventurer.
"Poor Lady Lakyus, at the end of that day, she was the one who apologized…"
Jogging at a steady pace, Gazef shrugged. Now, experiencing the difficult scale of this place he was confident of his abilities and now, somehow pitied the fact, he can't challenge himself. Even in this undewordly labyrinth, his skill was without par.
"It is a pity though…"
Every warrior and fighter thirsted for the challenge; he was no different, even the famous warrior captain who had so little opportunity to find a worthy opponent wanted a person who was his equal. A person who pushes him through his limits, a person who proved a reasonable challenge. A motivator that made him push harder... with the exception of Brain, Gagaran, and his master, there was only a few people he can name and provided all of this…
"Excluding Master Gown who killed me right away, sending me this place… a joke on me…" Gazef chuckled bitterly.
Since the start, he barely had to use any martial arts to even the odds. His training, physical strength, and endurance was well enough for this scale. As well, with two sacred royal treasures in his possession, hardly anything could stand in his way. It was almost like he is cheating his way through this place.
"I still need to find the other three. Yes, standing before my king without them would be a shame…" coming in his mind just now, he remembered… returning without all five sacred royal treasures would surely give a new opportunity to the noble faction to reignite the enmity in the kingdom. The situation was already catastrophic back then; King Ramposa III needed not one more point where the nobles could pierce his already Moorish powerbase.
Abruptly, Gazef's train of thoughts had been disturbed by a strange noise. It was not the usual creak of the walls — birthing more monsters. But the horrific sound of a most likely monstrous creature — and if he heard it right — a young girl who most likely not even reached his teens, probably chased by the beast.
"Dammit! Are there others down in this hellish place!?" of course, how should it be otherwise? If his guess was right, this was the underworld, of course, more lost souls wander in this hellhole.
"[Pace of the Wind]!" once more, he activated his martial art, rushing forward with blurring speed.
Wanting to have a closer relationship with cute girls. Wanting to interact with beautiful ladies of different races... Oh… how beautiful dream this was…
Unfortunately, holding to this somewhat improper, or perhaps immature thoughts time to time was quite hard, if not impossible. Yet, isn't this a healthy personality for a young male? Wanting the have the girl… or in some instances, more than one, maybe a whole harem? Yes, most males, most of the times in their teens, inexperienced about worldly things grabbed to this dream, making it their own.
A hero, earning the love of the girl, or multiple ladies at once, or in time, one by one… That was a proper dream… yet, unfortunately, the word, "dream" was present in the sentence; thus, in the real world, gaining this chance was harder, and rarer than any other younglings might imagine.
Often pursuing this dream ended up with total disappointment, turning away the younglings from the pursuit for more reasonable goals, or, in some cases, even presented death those who pursued this beautiful concept…
Still, can't a man have an encounter in the dungeon? Or better said… search for a harem in this dangerous place? Is this really that wrong?
Seeing the current situation, peeking behind his back with a terrified face. The young boy with white hair and red eyes realized… it was utterly wrong, and most likely a misguided idea. Whoever comes up with this stupid dream should be kicked in the nuts and sent away for a long vacation to think through what he really proposed to the younger generations.
"Yeeehhhh! Kami-sama! Save me!"
"Huaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah" hearing his girlish screams, the creature enraged, increasing its pace. Or… Was it like the monster laughing in his face? He was not sure… he was too terrified to care. Either way, it was equally terrifying and shameful to think more about it.
But, I guess this was the result when an adventurer — like the boy was — holding such improper and immature thoughts like encountering a girl in the dungeon encountered a monster — out of his league — instead. Because of this… He was about to die.
To be more precise, he was currently being chased by a monster with a human body and a bull's head, in another name… a "Minotaur." Either way, the end result was the same… yes, he was about to die… a horrible way I might say.
This monster was utterly immune to his attacks… A boy, who was only a mere level 1 entirely outclassed by this beast. And because of this sad circumstance, he was about to be eaten by it.
"Why? Why? Why? What a Minotaur doing in this level? According to Eina, I can only meet them on the lower floors!"
Thinking on this, helped not, as it made the boy think more. Thinking more usually ended up with more questions popping up in his head, and with more questions… come hesitation, the hesitation that further bolstered his already stomach-churning fear…
"Oh no…!" suddenly, the boy stopped, seeing the solid wall before him. "I entered a dead end. That's right, oh, Kami-sama... what now?"
"So this is my fate for being obsessed with such a shallow delusion, becoming a monster's food, I am such a fool!" Scolding himself helped not, as it further bolstered his already high adrenalin, and fear level, he was about to faint. Only grabbing the dull dagger in his hand made him stand somewhat.
'Phumph!' like steam leaving through two narrow holes, the boy tremblingly turned his head. Behind him towered the Minotaur, waiting for his move, drooling, and carving for his tender, young flesh.
"I am such a fool for expecting a fateful encounter. I wanted it! I wanted it so much! But not an encounter like this… not like this…"
He bit his lip in shame, remembering the person who told him all of this. The man who gave him the delusions idea to become an adventurer, the dream he can encounter beautiful girls in this place, saving them making them his lovers…
The purpose of becoming rich and getting a crowd of wives and concubines was naturally just a dream. Now, he started to realize that.
"At the instant when I first began to prepare and search for an encounter in the dungeon where numerous people die daily, I was already finished. Oh, Kami-sama… I expected a different encounter…"
Gulping, it was evident how much the creature is enjoying his scruple and fear — if it was possible for such a being. It literally waited, closing slow just to increase the boy's pulse, and the adrenalin coursed through his system.
"Ah, I really want to go back! Go back in the time and punch myself, who had just become of age and was signing the registration document with sparkling eyes at the guild."
Unfortunately, the boy was well aware… No matter from what physical angle or how metaphysically he see his surrounding, the variable others just call fate was not on his side… not today, not ever… these things were already impossible. He was not a god… less was the possibility he was a goddess… he can't travel through time, nor stop it, nor move it, he can only do things once… he was a simple human. That was the sad truth of his existence…
Like a flash, the Minotaur's hoof closed.
Although it did not directly kick his back, every step it took crushed the earth, so even the location where he was standing was being affected by the impacts.
The boy wasn't able to stand still and could only roll around the floor of the dungeon. But it was better, I think… if he remained still, he would be turned to paste under a short time.
The boy screamed, out of options, his back against the dead end, sitting on the floor nowhere to run, nowhere to hide.
The wish of encountering cute girls… he already gave up on it… completely destroyed by the harsh reality, and his weakness made evident by this creature. It looks like from the very beginning; he did not have the qualifications to become a hero from the fairy tales.
His back hit the wall. There was no path to retreat.
"I passed through dozens of paths. Still, this thing finally managed to chase after me. Forcing me into this square-shaped space…" whimpering, a few drops of tears rolled down on his cheek, under him a steady puddle of water gathering. The stench of ammonia spreading in the air, mixing with the fuggy atmosphere of the dungeon. "Ah…! I'm dead."
His teeth constantly chattered, tears also flowed down in torrents. His own skin could completely feel the deep and heavy breath exuded from the Minotaur.
"Grr…" the creature stopped before him, breathing steam on his face. So close, he literally felt the stench full air invading his snoot filled nostrils.
Raising his head, and staring at the muscular body that was one to two times larger than the boy was. As if he ultimately gave up, his face expressed a downright disgusting slight smile.
"In the end, I did not have an encounter with a girl," he mumbled, his body going limp, giving up on his life. There was no escape… there was only death…
Yet… Just as his cowardly brain spouted these incorrigible thoughts that were on to give up on any function completely, a roar hit his ears, a quite loud one as it. A roar of a manly man…
"Owaaa! Come here you bastard! [Provocation]!"
It was a man's voice that hit his ears in the next moment, and strangely, immediately, the Minotaur turned around, leaving its food and prey, alone. Like it would be not interested in the boy anymore, like it would be willing to give up on a prepared meal, just to hunt a more dangerous prey bearing a strange weapon.
"Guaahhhh!" the creature roared loud. Enraged, its muscle filled body gained a new volume, stretching to its limits.
"[Charge]! [Flow Acceleration]!"
In the next instant, the air boomed, the whole surrounding trembled as the man started his charge. And under less than a moment… a blur clashed with a monster, and like a flash…
'Slash! Slash! Slash! Slash! Slash…Slice!'
The beast froze… the boy was not even saw what really happened, nor could normally perceive it. It all happened too fast. Too fast for his limited perception of a level 1 adventurer to process!
Those were the dumb sounds issued by the boy and the Minotaur. Yet, in the end, the monster froze, only tremblingly reached towards the muscled person before it… then…
Many lines appeared on the creature's body… thin lines those like net connected to each other, running through from tip to toe, from finger to head. Doing this in a neat, surgical way…
A few long moments passed as the Minotaur trembled helplessly, and in the next moment…
One last desperate dying roar, and following the perfectly carved lines, the Minotaur's body also fell down in parts. Along with the blood spraying out, the dark red liquid gushed out; the creature completely collapsed… no… fallen to small pieces in the next moment.
A large amount of blood spattered onto the boy's body as if he had taken a shower. He was completely frozen stiff.
Little white rabbit whimpered, covered in blood, and only glimpsed the sweating man before him.
"Are you all right, lass? Are you injured?"
The boy, around the age of 14-15 watched the man who offered his hand, somewhat watching this stranger with awe and fear. His stature of a hero, saving a damsel in distress.
"But I am not a girl… this is not right… It is I who supposed to save the girl!"
Leaving such miserable thoughts behind… Whoever this man was, he must be of a high-level adventurer. Level three or above.
No one move that fasts and be low level! No one can carve a Minotaur apart just like that with that ease and be weak! He must be a legendary figure…
Whimpering a few more times, the boy measured his savior fearfully.
He was quite muscled, athletically he might say. His skin well-tanned, most likely carrying southern blood in his veins. But what was more intriguing, the greenish sword in his hand... it carried a slight glow, slightly illuminating the nearby area, and was extremely sharp looking, in a way it could cut even the air… the weapon certainly made his eyes wander on the blade immediately.
It was completely clean, not a drop of monster blood covering it. The cut was so clean…
"Not even wearing an armor? An enchanted weapon?" his eyes almost fall out from their sockets, gasping in adoration.
Weapons with magic enchantments were freaking expensive, only familias' with a steady background, foundation and income can allow buying one, and even then, it is usually carried by the captain or a specialist in the group who can use the item's power the best way.
Unfortunately, the little white rabbit was too scared, and enamored figuring out who this man was to remember Eina's — his dungeon adviser's — advice and teachings. He only knows enchanted weapons were rare and expensive, but nothing more.
"Who's familia he belongs to? He must be pretty famous. Still, I don't know who he is…"
The boy asked himself before he answered, accepting the offered hand slightly trembling, offering an awkward smile.
"Ah, ah… I-I am fine…"
"Oh…" the man blinked, then nodded somewhat confused. Most likely because he mixed the lad with a lass. From the scream, the latter was more evident than the first.
"That's good…" he smiled friendly. "I was worried for a moment. Being alone in this underworldly place indeed scary…"
"Ye-Yeah…" the boy with white hair scratched his head embarrassed. Only to hear a gleeful laugh coming from the darkness behind them.
"Hahahahaha! Tha-That was priceless! Did you see that Aiz? The kid just: "Aghhh!" and the Minotaur: "Bluergh!" A strange man, or teen? Gazef can't decide — not as it was important now — stepped in the light, watching something on his side, grabbing his abs in glee, laughing on the poor boy.
On the top of his head two canine ears peeked out, his hair grey, behind his back a wolf tail wiggling left and right in happiness.
"Is he a demi-human, or…" Gazef encountered magic casters who were able to change specific properties of their body. Either growing plus appendages or something more appropriate, increasing their muscle mass to balance out their weak physique.
A wolf ear and tail was not that strange… it served its purpose… the sharper hearing comes in handy in battle — but it also can be exploited by a veteran warrior like himself. As the tail… he was not so sure what it can be used, he felt it somewhat unnecessary.
"Maybe this strange transformation came with a spell…"
In the next moment, a second person stepped in the light. A girl to be exact…
She was strangely wordless, her armor was odd… A blonde swordsman wrapped in blue equipment with golden eyes.
The boy covered in blood whimpered, starting to guess the real person of this young blonde, and…
"Beautiful…" he mumbled, and his heart missed a rhythm. He right away recognized the famous person arrived to save him, yet, was too late… the muscled warrior was the first to come to his aid. Still, he just can't take his eyes from her, the silent girl mere presence and sight mesmerized his heart, pushing him into shame and want.
Wordlessly, the girl headed towards the two, measuring the boy covered in blood, and the warrior, who so easily dispatched the terrific creature.
"Aiz…?" the demi-human asked confused, but the girl just ignored him, walking towards the two. Keeping her vow of silence all along.
Her face was beautiful, yet, her expression… Gazef knew that face… her eyes, as well her appearance was of a dead person.
"Poor girl… so young…"
Gazef shook his head wordless. He knew it too well… The face of a battle-hardened veteran who burned out from the constant battles. The look of a person who lost everything and now only pursued one goal, concentrating on reaching it endless… caring nothing about anymore, but the burden of knowledge… she survived, and ever since carrying the remorse of her survival. The scar, maybe never heal in her soul.
"Are you two… alright?" stopping before them, as expected, her tone was of a monotone sadness, yet, deep inside Gazef felt a slight concern, a slight regret that her voice carried.
"Sorry, we arrived too late…"
Gazef wanted to say, it is no problem, he handled the situation, but he was one moment too late, as the boy behind him…
"Ag, aghhhhh!" stumbling forward, he ran away, like he saw a ghost, or a terrifying monster, his face filled with shame and scare.
"Eh… what the heck…" the werewolf looked after the kid annoyed, before shrugging, deciding, it is not his business. If he dies, he dies… weak should not come down here... "Pathetic…" he mumbled aloud, caring not what others think.
Aiz, the blonde girl blinked for a moment confused, looking after the strange blood-covered boy running away. Then turned back to the man, looking the blood splattered place where the remains of the minotaur disappeared.
"It was you…?"
She asked, and her tone gained some color for a moment. Gazef can't decide what she really thinks; such girls were hard to read. "Indeed. It was me… what happened? We need to get after him! Something might…"
"Hahaha! Don't concern yourself because of that pathetic little rabbit…" the werewolf stepped forward smirking. "The weak die, that's the law of nature… he most likely so scared he just ran away from the town. By the way, nice sword work! I wouldn't have done it better…"
If Glare could kill, Gazef's would have killed the demi-human several times, burning a hole through his skull.
Seeing his glare, the werewolf glared back in anger and annoyance, clicking his tongue.
"Tch! What? Don't you agree? The garbage should not come down here; they should just die if they do so… whimpering, curled in the corner, alone, like trash they are…"
Gazef wanted to hit the smirking man really hard just now. His suddenly appeared rage urged him to do so... Yet, grabbing the handle of his sword tighter, breathing and sheathing it away, right way forgone this idea. He had no time for this nonsense...
They were the only people he meets until now. The boy, this demi-human and the blonde girl. He had the urge, but he withheld his hand, who knows how many people he can encounter in this underground labyrinth… maybe, they are the last…
Even if they stuck in the underworld, he would never descend into such an unruly act. His honor as the warrior captain demanded him to be better.
"Hey! I am speaking to you! Where are you going?" Gazef ignored the shouts of the strange man, heading forward where the boy disappeared. "Hey! Don't look down on me!"
"Bete…" Aiz grabbed her companion's shoulder before he could do anything rash, and the werewolf backed, grinding his teeth furious.
"Where are you going…?" the silent girl only asked this much, and the man answered with a steady tone, looking back only for a moment.
"After the boy, it is dangerous down there… he is confused; he might die if he encounters monsters in that state."
"Don't be ridiculous! Those are simple…"
"Bete…" looking at Aiz who squeezed his shoulder once more, the girl shook her head, looking after Gazef who started to sprint, disappearing in the darkness the corridor offered.
"Who was this moron?"
"I don't know…"
Aiz answered solemnly… recalling the fight, glancing the blood-filled scene.
Not many can eliminate a Minotaur that quickly, not speaking how fast he was. She could barely follow his movement; the whole fight ended under a moment. Even she was not sure she could replicate this feat and technique.
"What a strange technique…" the Sword princess mumbled with slight jealousy in her tone, watching the man's disappearing silhouette in the dark corridor.
Then, her attention turned to the sizable crystal remained after the monster.
"Eh, he left it behind…?" Bete asked, and idea is coming on his mind in the next moment. "No matter, more money for us…"
Just as he picked up… "Eh!?" in the next moment an unusual sight occurred.
The crystal fell apart into perfectly cut pieces, an impossible feat without techniques aimed to do just this. Even the insides of it were perfectly smooth, like the blade not even damaged the individual parts, just separated separate entities once more.
"Strange…" Aiz inspected the tiny, sliced fragments closer, trying to find out how it was possible.
Running! Running! Running! Gazef sprinted after the boy. Deactivating his martial arts, he deemed sufficient his stamina and speed to continue his way without them. His endurance slowly regenerated by the Amulet of Immortality.
Judging from the boy's speed, he can't be too much ahead of him.
"Where is he?"
Slowly, the bloodstained trail on the ground disappeared, like the dungeon itself sucked it up from the ground. It was odd… almost like this place would be alive, only existing to destroy anyone coming down here, eating them alive… and now, Gazef lost his way.
"Dammit!" facing a crossroad, he cursed. Since his arrival, many times he encountered such two, or more way corridors down here, and he started to get enough of them. "Why this place is so extensive…!?"
He had to choose… left, or right… a boy's life dependent on his right choice.
"Did you see that?"
"What? That kid…?"
"Yeah! Poor fella. He was covered with blood from tip to toe!"
From the right corridor, several intelligent sounding voices hit his ears, most likely other people heading this way.
"Huh…" the adventurers watched the man confused. With a simple linen shirt, and a sword on his side he was indeed an odd sight.
"Did you see a kid, covered in blood running somewhere?"
"You mean that newbie?"
The boy certainly wore oddly exiguous amount of protection. Basically, only a chest plate and elbow protectors, and if Gazef saw it right, only a dagger laying on his side before grabbing it, he ran away.
"Yes! Where is he?"
"Ummm…" the elf remained silent for a moment, thinking before pointing the way.
"That way… I think he headed towards the entrance of the floor. From his expression, most likely heading on the surface. Why?"
"How many floors there are?"
Gazef's insistent tone made the adventurer group back a little bit; his face was slightly scary. "We are on the fifth floor…" whimpered the one in the middle.
"And how do I reach the surface?!"
"Eh!?" It was a confusing question. But most of the party members were not surprised, the dungeon had many floors, and was quite extensive with many dead ends and alternative routes. An inexperienced adventurer without familiarity with the floors easily loses their way.
"Dammit!" Gazef had no time for this, thus, decided to continue his way without any knowledge, following the direction the group pointed out.
"Hey! Wait…!" he was already far, his speed was astonishing. "Damn! What a prick…"
"He is fast… don't you think he is…"
"Eh, no way… I think he is some kind of newbie too chasing after his friend…"
"Do you really think so?" blinked the small, scrawny kid looking individual, who was a Pallum. "He is quite old to be a newbie and his physique? A newbie having that athletic physique is quite odd…"
"Maybe just a soldier from Rakia who decided to become adventurer… think nothing about it."
"Hmm, maybe you are right…"
And thus, the small group continued their way, heading down into the deeper levels of this endless catacomb.
Continuing his sprint, the former warrior captain had many questions. Questions he should have ask that two, or even from that strange group. Yet, he had no time.
He had no idea why, but after saving the boy, he felt somehow responsible about what happened. After saving him, it should be his responsibility to escort him to safety.
"I should have sprinted after him right away; I could easily catch up with him!"
"Dammit!" his years wearing armor, endless endurance exercises and practicing ceaseless paid out, he felt no fatigue at all. Even without the kingdom's treasures, he could keep up this pace for a long time.
Running some more, merely cutting down the goblins, and other weak creatures getting in his way, he encountered a few other groups under the road.
"Did you see a blood-covered boy running through here!? Is this the way to the surface?" the confused dwarf in chainmail just pointed the way, but before could say anything more the man left him behind, too flabbergasted to say anything.
He must have looked quite strange. Running with full speed through the floors, leaving behind many questioning people.
"Who was that guy…?"
"Don't ask… maybe a newbie…" most of them just shrugged him off, continuing the way downward. Thought, a few of them measured him with critical eyes, amongst them a certain high ranked individual looked after him with an experienced look.
Like a flash, Gazef strode through the floors with great speed, reaching a wide road that led to many stairs leading up to the surface.
"There is no other way…" sweating slightly; the captain left behind the time to time passing people. Heading up, up and up… In the end, he reached the entrance, the most likely surface…
Behind him, the center of the room is a ten-meter long hole that leads straight into the Dungeon. Within the circular room, there were multiple columns at equal intervals, and above is a beautiful azure painting of the heavens that resembles the real sky. Along the circle are gentle stairs that spiral down into the Dungeon.
"I managed to get out?" he looked around, and honestly, he was surprised.
Reaching the surface, he expected a hellish place up there. A place where from people escape to that endless maze... But this… he was confused.
"There are…" looking around, many people waited in the room, waiting in a neat line to get down. "Quite a few people… why do they want to go down in that hellish place? Is there something out there they want to escape?"
"What?!" approaching the half-asleep guard, the man with cat ears replied bluntly.
Gazef's eyes twitched.
Sleeping in guard duty? If this man were his subordinate, he would have chastened him for neglecting his duty.
He was an easy going man, but when it came to discipline and the service of the king, his men were the most combat-worthy unit in the whole kingdom. Slacking in his unit meant reprehension or severe punishment in most of the cases,
Yet, this man was not his subordinate. Thus, he gulped down his pride as a soldier and asked the question.
"Did you saw a bloodied boy? Quite a young lad…"
He described the boy, but the guard with an expression as rich as a dead fish simply replied bored before yawning. "Nope… Now get out there, others waiting in the line…"
And with that… Gazef left, seeing no other way, blowing through the wide entrance looked around. The crowd was too thick; he will surely not find the boy anymore.
"At least he is safe… hopefully…" he breathed in sight of relief. He did not give up, just considered the situation and come to the conclusion he can't find him amidst so many people.
"Strange place… I wonder where I am dropped. Didn't Master Gown kill me? I was just teleported somewhere?"
As he considered this idea, Gazef looked around, he realized, maybe this place was not as hellish as he first thought… what awaited him made him a little… scared? Confused? Wondering? Even he doesn't know what to feel.
All these people around! All those races! Dwarfs, elves, humans, kids? Animal people? And this place? The city around was beautiful and full of life, even more, filled than the main square of the capital.
"What the hell is this!? Master Gown, what have you done?!" making a few steps, looking back at the building where he came from, Gazef watched the majestic tower that reached above the skies with disbelief and awe…
"Where the hell am I?!"
And thus, Gazef Stronof reached the surface. What adventures await the former warrior captain in this brave new world? You will know next time…
Well, that's it for now. What do you think?
Was it good? Bad?
Leave a review and PM if you have any questions…
I know! I know… I already have a few stories… and my writing cycle already long… yet, I can't help it!
This idea just did not let me sleep! XD
Gazef is such an awesome character! (If you ask me)
And there are so few stories about him!
I hope, with this, I can change that! Encourage others to write stories with him.
Read and review! Tell me your opinion!
Goodnight! Gooday! Sail safe!
(By the way, I set up a pay pal account, if anyone wishes to support me a little bit. Feel free to send me a PM, and I can will send the link)
Flow Acceleration: An art that temporarily accelerates the workings of the user's nerves, increasing one's attack speed and movement speed. The downside to it however, is the extreme exhaustion that builds up in the user's mind.
Pace of the Wind: Increases the user's speed.
Provocation: The user initiates a blood churning shout, provocating the enemy. The opposition most likely attacks the user than others.
Chrage: The user accelerates it's speed forward, initiating a stampeding attack with deadly consequence.