Prologue + Chapter 1

Prologue

A man came walking out of Hokkaido’s biggest dungeon – The so-called “Chikaho” in Sapporo – looking around and letting out a small sigh. There’s one profession, placed inside the dungeons, everyone admires – The adventurers.

Girls tend to wait idly nearby Chikaho’s entrance, looking at it with sharp eyes.

Waiting for adventurers to appear.

If a male adventurer, who seemed to be single, appeared, they would approach him without any discrepancies.

Nevertheless, this mans appearance isn’t being reflected in their eyes.

It’s not that he isn’t recognized because he’s ugly.

This man.

His presence is just too thin.

Even online, it’s the same.

There are almost no views on his “Become an adventurer!” blog site.

No matter how much he updated his blog, it won’t get many views.

The page views are always in the single digits.

They are like guests, who entered the wrong room by accident.

Leaving his blog without reading his posts.

As it seems becoming an adventurer doesn’t make you popular.

It’s the sad truth.

Even though he was walking at a snail’s pace, today too, nobody noticed his presence.

It’s pitiful like the figure of a man walking slowly because of wanting someone to notice him.

Fortunately, his slow pace stopped the eyes of none.

His pride was preserved.

But it was not without consequences…

This guy, called Karaboshi Haruki, let out a heavy sigh.

…let’s go home.

The existence of dungeons was confirmed 5 years ago.

It happened all of a sudden in multiple places all over the world.

Some countries survived, others fell.

Including the G8 (The 8 leading countries) light and dark were separated.

It’s unclear why the dungeons were born and how they all occurred.

What is a dungeon in the first place?

After raising their defenses the surviving countries now put all efforts into analyzing the situation.

Like all the other countries Japan was also hit by the calamity.

After restraining the stampede of the sudden dungeon occurrence we are now in a time of peace.

When the people were still confused, nationwide standards for adventurers were set in Japan.

Those qualified adventurers risk their lives to explore the dungeons and kill monsters.

There are multiple reasons for them to do so.

Maybe your relatives or important people were killed by those monster.

Maybe you longed for an RPG.

Maybe you want to get rich fast.

In recent years there were many reasons, like having a better chance at job hunting.

“Since I used to be an adventurer, I’m confident in adapting to harsh environments.”

It takes tremendous guts to dive into the dungeon to appeal to themselves as the highest servant.

Setting aside diving into the dungeons, some people awoke special abilities that never before existed.

For example, some gained the ability to leap through the air, using the force of their sword. Some even got the ability to see through the nature of raw materials and items found in the dungeons.

Some call these special abilities “your real self”.

In other words, they find their real self inside the dungeons.

There’s a high demand for them. (1)

Risking their lives, they see their hopes and dreams inside the dungeon.

Now adventurers became Japans fourth big industry.

Tired from exploring the dungeon, Haruki drove back to his home in the countryside.

Koraboshi (空星) – A star floating in the sky. A truly beautiful surname.

Haruki (晴輝) – A cloudless sky, shining wonderfully.

You can’t complain about names with such meanings.

But because of the combination of those two, I was called “Air” since elementary school.

It’s indeed ironic.

Even when he came to a drinking party people said “Huh? Isn’t that just some air?” because of that.

… he wants to think, that it was not harassment.

Even though he was right in front of them,

“Have you ever seen Koraboshi?”

“… eh, dare? (who?)”

“He’s a boy from our class.”

“Huh? There’s such a guy?”

“Should be. His name is on the attendance list. But I’ve never seen him.”

is what they said.

By no means was it harassment!

Haruki, whose presence had become like air, however, retired from his job at a printing company one month ago to become an adventurer.

So that he wouldn’t be called air again, getting a presence that can’t be ignored.

Right now, however, his presence was still like air.

Today’s hunting outcome where 10 000 yen (~ 88USD/78€ in Winter 2018).

Most of it was taken up by travelling expenses.

After stopping the car in front of the house, he opened the shutter of the garage.

“…eh?” (Haruki)

The parking space behind the entrance of the garage was taken up by a hole.

“A sinkhole? … no, no, that seems unlikely.” (Haruki)

There were stairs going down from the entrance to the back of the garage.

It was not a sinkhole.

Of course, it wasn’t like this when he left home.

That’s why the hole had to have opened when Haruki came back from the Chikaho.

“It did indeed occur then…” (Haruki)

It is not unusual for dungeons to appear suddenly.

There are many stories of dungeons appearing nearby family houses in threads on “Nara”.

This is no anomaly.

Although it is a place where you can’t know when a monster will appear, Haruki knelt down in front of the dungeon, his shoulders trembling slightly.

“My snowplow… !” (Haruki)

With the appearance of the dungeon, the snowplow he stored inside the garage for snow removal in the winter had disappeared.

This is (personally) a bigger problem than the appearance of the dungeon.

The winter in Hokkaido is no joke.

No matter how many countermeasures are taken, some accidents will happen.

It is hard to even see the ground under the snow. (suffering tone)

In such winters, removing snow is the most important thing to do, when you want to survive.

And the best solution for this is your own snow plow.

As for Haruki’s home, his garden is ten times as big as the building.

It can only be called a punishment to clean such an area manually.

One costs about 300 000 yen (~ 2650USD/2340€ in Winter 2018).

It was hard saving the money to buy it…

While tears fell, he looked at the criminal, which took away his snow thrower, which could be called a saviour in the country of snow.

On the first steps around the entrance is a stone tablet lying on the ground.

It is slightly larger than a hand and about one centimetre thick with the appearance of a stone.

It is light and seems to be easily throwable.

The surface was slippery.

Haruki’s first impression was that it is a stone tablet.

But as he looked closer he could see a square cut in the top right corner.

A button?

Without thinking about it, he touched the square.

In the same moment, the tablet began to glow slightly and grains of light hit Haruki’s chest.

“…wtf!?” (Haruki)

Reflecting it with both arms combined in front of the chest, there is no shock.

I’m afraid to open my eyes.

It seems that I’m not injured.

“What was that?” (Haruki)

Slightly tilting his head, he noticed, that his senses were slightly deteriorated.

When he tried to hold that feeling, suddenly a light lit up in front of him and transformed into the form of the stone tablet.

Hurridly he took the stone.

On the surface of the stone was now a white text that previously hadn’t existed.

Karaboshi Haruki (27) Gender: Male

Available Skill Point(s): 3

Class: Swordsman

+ Vitality

+ Strength

+ Dexterity

+ Perception

+ Technique

+ Special (TL: Not S.P.E.C.I.A.L. though)

Could it be a skill board?

(1) might be a reference to the High conscious system.

Because it was past business hours on the day when he discovered the dungeon, Haruki contacted the office next day.

“Since my garage at home becomes a dungeon, I want to register it.”

If you listen to this line five years ago it seems that you are crazy.

……While thinking that Haruki is conscious of the receiver which he put on the ear.

“We understand. So we will visit your home with a Self-Defense Team right away.”

In terms of voice quality, it seems to be male officials in thirties to forty-seven.

What do you think if you see yourself as I am when I joined the office? ……It was the owner of a shadow voice that seemed to have trouble such as.

I think that it is truly troublesome.

When I finished eating breakfast, police cars and fire engines refurbished as armored cars arrived in front of my house.

Haruki appears outside the house and greet the person in charge from the government office.

“Hello.”

“Is this the dungeon? The owner is called Karaboshi.”

“Excuse me.” (ano~u)

“Oh, so slow. I will call him for a while.”

“Excuse me!”

“Oh!?”

Screaming, finally got the government officer to notice Haruki’s existence.

Well. It is a usual thing……

In spite of being a usual thing, it is still causes a little damage to Haruki.

Although I wear a showy red shirt, I’m not noticeable…

On the other hand, after being noticed, it seems like “This guy’s terrible, isn’t it?”

In fact, it supposed to be.

The surrounding eyes are cold.

“I must sincerely apologize. Are you Karaboshi-san?

“Yes.”

“Excuse me, does Karaboshi-san have a license?”

License is adventurer qualification.

Haruki draws it lightly.

“Yes, I got it this term.”

“I see. Did you go into the dungeon already?”

“No. I thought that it would be better if you handled it first.”

“That is a good judgment. Then may we install the barricade immediately?”

When Haruki nodded, four people of the Self-Defense Team took out sandbags and barbed wires from inside of car and started work.

The entrance to the dungeon basically should not be blocked. If it is blocked, an entrance will open in another place.

When it blocked up, it would open again in another place. Block it again and it would open in another place…… And it would repeat again.

In addition, it can possibly hasten stampede occurrences.

Stampede is a state where monsters are overflowing from the dungeon. As result most of the countries have been devastated by monsters. It is a dangerous phenomenon.

Even if stampede happens, the barricades are made of sandbags and barbed wire so they won’t be easily trampled.

So, it can perform a prevention for emergency occasion.

Just making barricade for monsters is only work to delay their action for a certain degree.

To deal with that is the purpose of Self-Defense Team.

The Self-Defense Team is organized from police and firefighters.

They are also known as dungeon countermeasure.

They are responsible for thinning monsters overflowing from dungeons.

Of course the SDF (State-Defense Force) is, also. However, in order to act on all 200+ dungeons in Japan, the SDF alone is somewhat short of hands.

So police and fire fighters are helping defend by acting as Self-Defense Teams.

Four men set up sandbags one by one as if they did not feel the weight.

I’m sure they are conducting anti-monster training.

It is so fast.

A sandbag is installed so as to surround the garage, and a barbed wire is stretched around it.

At the entrance of the dungeon there were small doors and security cameras around the waist, IC card readers and retinal camera on it.

By the revision of the law after Stampede, dungeons are declared to be owned by the state.

In other words, entering without qualification is an illegal invasion.

If you do not do it, people entering with playful sense will have the worst ending; many such incidents happen.

– In fact it occurred frequently.

That’s why the country gave an official order “Do not enter, it is state owned!”

This is their last resort.

Securing space for the dungeon gate (the site entrance become considerably small), and barricade production work is finished.

“It is done with this.”

Fast. It probably has not been an hour since the installation started. I am surprised at how fast it was.

How strong are they all together?

“By the way, is there anything that was taken by the dungeon?”

When dungeons emerge, their nature is to swallow everything above it.

Like Haruki’s garage building, it is not swallowed unless it touches the stairway directly. If there is a human or pet, it will be erased by the dungeon.

There are no cases yet, but the house will rarely be swallowed as a whole.

Actually, there are some cases where a subway station has become a dungeon, so the possibility is high.

“Actually…… my snowplow.”

“It was…… really a disaster.”

“Yes……”

They seemed to well understand the pain of the lost snowplow.

The mood in that area became worse.

“Do you want to enter?”

“That is the plan.”

“Is that so. Please be careful. [Adventurer risking their lives] although it is said that, it is also important to survive.”

“Yes. Thank you very much. Self-Defense Team too, I’m always grateful for your help.”

Thank you for always protecting this city.

I guess that thought was transmitted. Even though the four men had finished their work, they aligned with agile movements that do not feel fatigue, and each of them give a salute.

However, their line of sight is not fixed anywhere.

……Yup, they have not seen me yet.

That is also good!

Once returned to his room, Haruki launched the PC, and opened a website that he often visits.

“Let’s Become an Adventurer!”

The so-called “Let’s Become,” it is a website for adventurers.

From blogs that upload the daily strategies, bulletin boards that converse about various topics, requests to collect monsters’ materials, there are even WIKI about monsters and strategies.

Especially for the beginner adventurers, this WIKI has contents that you should read generally.

There is a way to defeat particular monsters. Their weak points by weapon.

○ This is a monster that takes group action by hierarchy.

○○ This is a rare boss that sometimes appears on the xx floor of the dungeon.

It is insanely strong, be careful.

No matter how much depopulated, dungeon information for the upper layer is definitely listed.

Having or not having that information will change the survival rate dramatically. Haruki also feels indebted to them. Haruki also feel indebted to them.

The reason why Haruki visited “Let’s Become” is not for seeking dungeon capture information.

Haruki clicks on the sidebar, he visits a page.

That is adventurer ranking.

The total points list based on blogs and quest achievement rate, it is a page where personal and team rankings from day-to-year are posted.

The position differs slightly between days and years, those on this ranking are generally called rankers.

When become a ranker, the probability to receive a contract from various companies increase.

After signing a contract with a company, they will provide prototype equipment free of charge; it is a good experience to receive the latest new equipment.

Of course it is not only that.

Anyway it stands out!

Certainly if I become a ranker, my thin presence will be denser.

For Haruki, it is more important than the offer from any company.

I want to escape from being an Air!

Haruki scrolls down to daily individual ranking, exhaling a heavy sigh as his body sunk into the floor.

“New dungeon is discovered!”

Last night I upload a blog article with such title, but it seems that it did not appear in the ranking.

It supposed to be a very interesting title……

Once it appears in the rank, page views will tremendously increase.

That’s why I tried to earn points with a special kind of personal story that my garage becomes a dungeon.

Oh, so ruthless……

Nobody sees the article.

In the reality and the internet, I’m still an Air.

As expected to increase the rank, it is useless with only a journal.

Although I’m depressed, it is not possible to become that kind of ranker.

While comforting himself, it is only an adventurer who is active in middle and lower layers who can be a ranker, Haruki shut down the PC.

The next day, Haruki went out of the house and carefully equipped his weapon.

His weapon is a combat knife of about 30 centimeters purchased for 20,000 yen. It is an entry model made by Mitsubishi. On the blade, a logo of 『一』 is crafted together with its series name.

His protective gear is a (white) helmet for construction use and slightly compacted with leather.

His elbow and knee are supported with safety gear. Total sum is 10,000 yen.

None are dungeon-exclusive armor.

His weapon is considerably different.

Of course, there are reasons why the price of his protective gear is cheap.

It’s not because he’s stingy.

He doesn’t have enough money to buy good equipment.

Truly, he at least wants to purchase specialized equipment.

But he has no choice but to proceed.

As a matter of fact, all beginners are similar in nature.

It is not only Haruki that wears lowest-quality equipment.

Except for a few rich people, beginner adventurers are generally poor.

It is natural not to be able to buy a protective gear for dungeon.

It is a weapon that is problematic for Haruki’s equipment.

There are few adventurers equipped with a dagger or knife.

The reason is simple. It is because it can’t kill monsters.

Diving in the dungeon and fighting monsters is like killing a bear physically.

Does anyone use a knife to fight bears?

……No, there is not.

Killing bears with a knife is only for someone like Seagal[1].

But not everyone is like Seagal.

So, they preferred to attack from safer distance with a powerful weapon.

“Let’s Become” has done an investigation for weapon type used by adventurers.

Bow = Large Sword > Long Sword >> Sword >>>>> etc.

With, bow and large sword occupied more than half of chart.

By the way, knife, dagger, blunt weapon, and the like are not included.

Of course some adventurers fight with knives.

But they are for senior adventurers who fight with lower rank monsters for fun or training.

The demerit of a dagger is large to that extent.

So why did Haruki choose the unpopular knife?

Of course, it is because it stands out.

Even for someone who has Air like existence, showing such style will surely stand out.

Thinking like that he chose a knife, but…… until now there is no effect.

Surely someday, Haruki believe that this hardship will be rewarded.

Whether it is a praise or ridicule and a curse,

“That fellow, he is fighting with a knife!” It will be a victory if they say that.

Hold the IC card over the ticket gate, retinal authentication is performed.

Data associated with the IC is read, only after the retina is matched will the ticket gate open.

If someone forcibly passes through this, a report will instantly be sent to the police.

Standing on the first step of the dungeon staircase, Haruki puts his hand in front of his chest.

Then, a tablet-like stone slate come out of his chest.

“As expected.”

After he came back to home yesterday, he tried to take out the stone slate several times in his room but it didn’t work.

Perhaps it won’t even be possible to take it out.

It can only be used in a dungeon, a restricted-type magic tool.

It is also the first time for Haruki to see a magic tool.

Besides, magic tools are not something that novice adventurers can easily grab.

Magic tools are items that rarely come from treasure boxes that appear in the dungeon.

There are various kinds.

Their appearance varies widely, but what they have in common is “they demonstrate effects beyond human knowledge.”

Magic bags are probably the most famous magic tool.

It is beyond human knowledge, although its size is only enough for a watermelon, it is possible to store more items. It is such a bag.

As it is famous, an eyeball protruding price will be attached when auctioned.

It can be acquired for around 3 billion maximum and became a hot topic recently.

It was purchased by a large company, a weapon dealer under Kawakami Industry.

The successful bidder who answered the interview said,

“I’m thinking of decorating this in the store to entertain customers’ eyes.”

And so his answer.

Is it the first melon. (TL: I’m not sure what does it mean.)

Next is the famous magical sword.

The effect is unknown.  The existence of the magic sword has been confirmed, but information about its effect does not circulate.

Perhaps the acquirer is limiting the information.

They are scared of theft, or it is too dangerous so it can’t be told.

Some mysterious weird magic tools also came out.

It is so early for mankind that nobody knows how to use them, and mostly they are sold at discard prices.

Even collectors do not put out their hands, afraid of curses.

Anyway, the skill board Haruki got is sure to be that kind of magic tool.

Haruki sat on the stair and looked at the stone slate.

Proofread by Fenring on Asian Hobbyist

. ———————————————————————————————– [1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steven_Seagal.

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