72 Part 2

It had been quite a long time since he last traveled alone.

It also had been quite some time since he last explored a new dungeon.

Haruki’s heart was beating quite fast.

Just what kind of place was Nakasatsunai dungeon?

* * * * * * * * *

The road that connected K-Town and Nakasatsunai was in a pretty bad shape.

Though it was supposed to be perfectly passable, it had been blocked by a landslide, and it had such bad cracks all over it that one could travel through it by car at a regular speed without risking damage to the tires.

It was so bad that it might have been a better idea to go there by foot rather than by car.

Haruki borrowed Karen’s magic bag, so he brought Rhea along.

He had asked Karen to look after Esta’s grasshopper supply.

However, since she steadfastly refused to do that, Haruki had no choice but to take Esta with him as well.

“I wonder if I’m going to be able to find a hotel…”

There were hotels that allowed for pets, but no hotel would allow for monsters to stay.

So Haruki planned to stash both Rhea and Esta in the magic bag at the hotel’s front door.

Otherwise, he would most likely end up having to set up camp for quite a few days.

He would like to avoid that if possible.

In the car, Rhea was sitting still on her chair.

On the other hand, Esta was moving about excitedly, since it was his first car ride ever.

Rhea scolded Esta for moving around too much.

As a result, the saddened Esta ended up resting his chin on Haruki’s shoulder from behind the driver’s seat.

Nakasatsunai, located to the south of the center of Hokkaido, was a village with a population of about 4,000 people before the first Stampede. It was the most populated village in the Tokachi area.

However, since the first Stampede, its already small population has declined even further, standing a little below 2,000.

Even so, there was a dungeon in that village. It was famous for serving as a means to procure food in Hokkaido.

The area was often visited by adventurers who earned a living by hunting food-type monsters.

Although Nakasatsunai is mostly abandoned due to its decrease in population, there were many hotels and private lodgings in the village because adventurers often went there to hunt.

So there was no need to worry about vacancies.

After arriving in Nakasatsunai, the first thing Haruki did was try to secure a hotel room.

Naturally, both Rhea and Esta had already been put away inside the magic bag.

Heading to the hotel’s counter…

“Welc… AAAHHH!!”

The man at the front desk let out a scream.

–What!?

Haruki quickly turns around to see if there was something behind him.

He wondered if perhaps something happened inside of the hotel that caused that man to scream like that.

But there was nothing behind Haruki.

There was nothing particularly suspicious around him.

“But what–”

“AAAAHHHH!”

When he turned around once again, the hotel clerk screamed again.

–Is he scared of me?

Haruki was confused.

He was happy that the man had noticed the very moment he entered the hotel.

It was a wonderful moment for him.

But he was sad that the reason he noticed him was because he was scared of him.

After all, Haruki’s face wasn’t that that scary, it was more like a regular type of face.

–My face…?

Haruki took off his mask.

“It-it’s goneeee!!”

–That’s why I hate taking off my mask!

–Damn it!

Haruki rudely wiped the tears from his face.

After putting his mask back on and appealing to the hotel’s clerk with a desperate “I’m a human!”, Haruki somehow managed to have a conversation with him.

When he told him that he was an adventurer that had come to visit the Nakasatsunai dungeon, the clerk became a little less alert of him.

He must have figured that adventurers were usually quite the eccentric fellows, so it wouldn’t be too weird if one of them wore a mask.

Haruki’s room was in a triangle cottage called “Fairy House”.

It was a two-storey building with a living and a kitchen on the first floor. The second floor was for the guests.

His room was a little too big for just one person, but Rhea and Esta were with him.

Unexpected problems were less likely to occur if the room was independent, even if it was a little too big.

Haruki had looked for information on the Nakasatsunai dungeon on the Wiki, but he figured he would get better information by asking around at the general store and the armor shop.

After putting his luggage away in the cottage, Haruki quickly headed to the general store.

The Ichibishi General Store was just a few steps away from the Nakasatsunai dungeon.

Its building looked very similar to the prefab in K-Town, only much bigger.

Haruki opened the prefab’s door while looking around.

The store clerk turned around with a smile, and…

“AAAAHHHH!”

She let out a muffled scream.

It was the same reaction that the hotel clerk had.

But unlike the hotel clerk, the store clerk’s reaction didn’t end there.

Surprisingly, she picked up a weapon from under the counter.

“W-Wait, wait! I’m a customer!”

The confused Haruki raised his voice.

As a response, the store clerk stopped in her tracks.

“Ah… You’re Mr. Karaboshi, aren’t you?”

“Ah, that’s right.”

The store clerk took a deep breath and put the weapon down.

Since she called her “Mr. Karaboshi”, she probably heard about him from Akane.

That’s why she put her weapon down.

“I’m sorry, I overreacted. When Miss Akane said that you had feathers on your neck, a plant growing on your back, scales on your body, tentacles on your waist, and a mask that floated in mid-air, I thought she must have been joking!”

Then she laughed. “Ufufu”.

Haruki also laughed. “Ahaha.”

What was that all about?

Haruki thought Akane should be more serious when it comes to describing someone else’s features.

–How is that supposed to make someone know that I am Air?

Haruki’s smile was hiding a deep resentment for Akane.

–Huh?

Having realized something, Haruki’s smile froze over.

The clerk had said: “I thought she must have been joking!”

Was she saying that this is what Haruki looked like despite her thinking it was a joke!?

— Damn it!!!

According to the store clerk, the hot stones could be found on the 11th floor of the dungeon.

Other than that, her information was pretty much the same as what he had already found in the Wiki.

He should be able to get to the 11th floor just fine.

Haruki headed for the dungeon, thinking about what would be the best way to collect those hot stones.

The Nakasatsunai dungeon was said to be the easiest dungeon in Hokkaido.

However, even though the monsters in there were said to be weak and that it would be very difficult for an adventurer to actually die in there, that didn’t mean that it would be an easy dungeon to defeat.

The risk of death was always there, and there would be certain monsters there that he would not find in the garage dungeon.

Haruki couldn’t say that he was disappointed.

There weren’t as many adventurers visiting the Nakasatsunai dungeon as seen in the one in K-Town.

Thinking that there would be police officers standing at the entrance, Haruki put both Esta and Rhea back into the magic bag as he approached the dungeon.

But there was no special guard like the police or anything like that.

After all, it seemed that these dungeons wouldn’t be guarded unless they were really big ones, like in Sapporo.

Relieved, Haruki took Rhea and Esta from the bag.

Aiming to reach the middle floors of the dungeon, Haruki stepped into the first floor.

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