59 Part 2

Karen was sitting in a corner of the prefab, holding her knees as she cried.

And Akane… was a complete wreck. Her face had abandoned her.

She was truly unsightly.

“What… What on earth happened?”

Enduring the intense heat, Haruki quickly opened a window.

The warm air from outside rapidly enters the prefab, clearing away the sweltering heat that had been trapped inside.

“Air…?”

Karen had finally lifted her head.

Still…

“—!?”

She suddenly gulped, and her face stiffened.

“Ah… Ah, I see… You’ve become much stronger again, haven’t you?”

Karen nodded as if she had realized something.

‘Much stronger’…?

Though a bit astonished, Haruki approached Karen.

“What happened?”

“Ah, that’s right! Please help us, Air! The dungeon’s 10th floor is too dangerous for us!”

* * * * * * * * *

Haruki headed to the garage dungeon with Karen, who kept on saying how dangerous it was over and over.

“So… Why are you tagging along, anyway?”

“Oh, don’t mind me…”

Akane, who was wearing heavy armor, got close to Karen.

Her armor had the kanji for “Number One” engraved on it.

It was a piece of equipment that enhanced the wearer’s agility, despite being considered heavy armor.

Haruki didn’t know what kind of materials were used to make that kind of armor, but he knew about the “Number One” series.

Wearing that would be beyond even Haruki’s ability.

And yet…

Looking at her weapon, Haruki frowned.

“What’s an Ichibishi employee doing with a Banma weapon?”

Her weapon had the “IBI” logo, while her forearm guard was made by the Banma Studio.

There was a blade attached to the elbow of that forearm guard.

This blade could be used as a tonfa to attack enemies. It was a very rare weapon.

“You’re an Ichibishi employee, aren’t you? Won’t having a Banma weapon get you in trouble?”

“I have no choice. Ichibishi doesn’t make weapons like these.”

Weapons like these… The products made by Banma Studio are quite peculiar.

To begin with, their concepts for weapon and armor design are weird.

For example, that weapon Akane has looks like someone overdid its design, thinking something like “So, a tonfa” → “A tonfa that rotates” → “Oh, let’s add a jet engine to it” → “Its weapon part will be jet engine blades!”

As a result, this weird weapon was completed. A jet engine blade attached to a forearm guard.

While the blade can be used to attack, it can also be used as a shield.

It was sold as a weapon that integrates both offensive and defensive capabilities, but since it looked so hard to use, one would expect its sales wouldn’t go that well.

Nonetheless, despite their weird ideas, Banma had earned a considerable amount of fans.

If Banma were to suit someone’s needs, they simply could not use any other products other than Banma’s.

Akane was probably like that, too.

It was true that the more conservative Ichibishi could not make crazy weapons like these.

Haruki glanced at both Karen and Akane.

Why was Akane walking so close to Karen?

He didn’t remember them being so intimate.

When exactly had they become this friendly to each other?

“You’re once again wearing something weird yourself, Air. Is that Lizardman armor?”

“Did you notice?”

“The scales were a dead giveaway. How good is it?”

Akane got closer to Haruki and started to inspect his coat.

“Hmm… it has a considerable defense against slashing attacks. Still, it’s a cloth-type equipment, so you should be careful about blunt attacks. Does it have any special abilities? Do you want a detailed appraisal?”

“If only I had time for that…”

He just got this piece of equipment after a difficult battle.

Haruki just wanted to go out there and try it out in battle, rather than waiting an entire month for an appraisal.

“Still, that mask, those feathers, those potatoes, and now this coat… Just what are you trying to become?”

“Of course, I want to be an adventurer as strong as a Ranker.”

“Eeehhh…?”

After being subject to Akane’s cold stare, Haruki activated the gate and tried to set it to the 10th floor.

Apparently… Akane had already set it to the 10th floor beforehand.

“When did you come to the dungeon?”

“Just a few moments ago.”

“Is it okay for a store clerk to get into the dungeon?”

“It’s not that I can’t. Of course I can’t set up shop there. But in the dungeon,  I can get various new abilities. I can also get information on how to best deal with its many monsters, and by knowing these monsters’ abilities, I can recommend suitable gear to other adventurers. That’s why Ichibishi employees are encouraged to come into the dungeon from time to time.”

“I see. I understand why you come here, but is it okay for you to leave the store alone?”

“Nobody comes in anyway. We’ll be reducing our business hours during weekdays.”

Isn’t that too carefree of her?

Haruki’s face became stiff.

But the truth was that the only ones to go to the prefab on weekdays were Haruki and his friends.

So reducing business hours wouldn’t be much of a problem anyway.

“So why did you come to the dungeon earlier?”

“I had a fight with Karen, so–”

“A fight!?”

“I almost lose when she shot me with one of her spells–”

“She did what!?”

“So we decided to have a hunting competition on the 10th floor–”

“A hunting competition…?”

Just what had Haruki got himself into?

In the middle of the gate headed for the 10th floor, Haruki crouched down completely with his face looking through his knees, completely perplexed.

“So I decided to look after Karen.”

“‘So’, you say… Huh? Look after Karen?”

“Yeah. Karen is a sponsor candidate for Ichibishi.”

“… Say what!?”

Haruki froze on the spot after hearing Akane’s words.

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