88 Part 3

It could be a good idea to take a good rest and recharge his own batteries.

“… Never mind. I get it. I’ll go soak in the Kamui Springs for the time being. What are you-”

“I’ll go as well.”

Karen cut Haruki off before he could ask her.

Karen didn’t feel any pain during battle, unlike Haruki.

They had been leveling up together, but she didn’t have a Growth Acceleration skill like Haruki.

It didn’t seem necessary that Karen went to the hot springs as well.

Still, she shook her head.

“If I let you soak in the hot springs by yourself, you’ll just stay there until you melt. So I’ll go too, so you don’t do anything stupid.”

“Oof…”

Karen clenched her fist with determination.

She didn’t seem to trust Haruki in that regard.

“But I’ll be on the men’s side of the hot springs, how are you planning to stop me?”

“… Hehe.”

Karen tilted her head to the side with a big smile on her face.

She looked like an innocent little girl, embarrassed about something she didn’t know about.

But seeing her face sent a shiver down Haruki’s spine.

She had like this is a poisonous aura around her, as if she was some kind of torturer picking which method of torture she’d try this time.

“Y-You could stay and train by yourself in the garage dungeon!”

“No. I owe you a favor, Karaboshi. If you’re in trouble, I’m obligated to do everything in my power to help you!”

“But…”

“Whenever you purchase equipment for us both you secretly cover for some of my expenses, don’t you? You’ve always paid for me, so this time I’ll pay for your hot spring therapy!”

Haruki’s mouth dried under the pressure of not being able to say no.

He had never seen Karen make such a scary face.

Her overly polite voice only made her sound even scarier.

“No, but…”

“I’ll pay for you, okay?”

“Ah… Okay.”

Haruki’s resistance shattered against Karen’s pressure, which felt like a dagger pressed against his throat.

“So, how about doing a little job while you’re in Asahikawa?”

The seriousness was already completely gone from Akane’s face.

“What kind of job?”

“It’s a request to clean up after the last Stampede.”

“A clean up…”

“That’s right. They’ve found out that monsters who have escaped the dungeon after the Stampede were lurking in a nearby forest. They’re asking for someone who can deal with them.”

“I see.”

A Stampede is a phenomenon in which monsters start overflowing out of a dungeon.

The only ways to stop a Stampede are to either defeat the boss that commanded those monsters, or exterminating all of the monsters that had escaped.

Ideally, the best way to deal with a Stampede would be to defeat each monster as it comes out of the dungeon.

But it never works that well in reality.

Destroying the monsters that pop out of the dungeon one after another without missing any of them proved to be a very difficult thing to accomplish.

Even more so, since amateur members of the Self Defense Force also participate in defensive battles related to monster subjugation.

In fact, there were only a handful of dungeons in Japan that had managed to suppress a Stampede perfectly.

The garage dungeon was one of them, but it was only a matter of luck.

If monsters from the middle floors had joined the Stampede, it would have been impossible to suppress it.

Leaving that aside, the dungeon at Asahikawa was one of those where they weren’t completely able to destroy all monsters that escaped it.

Apparently, the reason a clean up request was made was that the Self Defense Force in Asahikawa were having a difficult time dealing with the monsters.

The entrance to the Asahikawa dungeon was in Kamuikotan.

Haruki had never visited it, but he knew where Kamuikotan was.

It was a very secluded region.

To make things worse, the terrain there was rough, full of mountains, forest, rivers, and cliffs. That kind of terrain was rather disadvantageous for the Self Defense Forces to handle monsters on their own.

“Umm, Akane? I thought I just talked about not being able to fight?”

Haruki asked himself if she perhaps hadn’t understood that part.

Akane puffed her lips and uttered a “Hmph~” as if she was asking him “who do you think you’re dealing with here?”

“The request start date is in two weeks. The monsters that escaped from the dungeon are all small fry, even for intermediate adventurers. They should be good enough for your rehabilitation, right?”

Akane puffed up her big chest. What do you think? I have everything covered! Hehe.

Seeing that, Karen squinted her eyes.

Shouldn’t he check his own physical condition after soaking in the hot springs?

Still…

“I’ve been very kind to think this through with such a level of detail! You must think I’m some kind of angel, right? Right!?”

Ehehe.

With that slightly dirty, self-praising aura she was giving off, there was no way Haruki would have wanted to say anything to compliment her.

Rather than words of gratitude, there was nothing he wanted to give her in return more than a punch.

But he held his fist in check.

“Hmph. Give me the details first.”

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