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92 Part 2

And since this is a “princess”… salted salmon roe!

 

“…slurp”

“Eeek! You brute!!”

 

The salmon was startled by Haruki’s approach.

Trembling, it wrapped its thin arms around itself.

It looked like a young woman being harassed by a lecherous man wearing nothing but underpants.

 

“Y-You mean to defile me and do all sorts of things to me here in order to satisfy your vile desires, don’t you!?”

“Like I would do something like that!”

 

The fascination for salmon was something very special.

Many fishermen might experience a fervent desire at the sight of salmon.

Of course, that’s by no means related to anything sexual.

 

— Please. I don’t want to find any more problems in you.

Haruki’s headache worsened.

 

“That’s okay. I understand you can do nothing other than staring at me with those eyes of an animal against my overflowing charm. If you want to do such dirty things with my body, I’ll give it to you!”

“No thanks, there’s no need for that…”

“But!! There’s something I absolutely must do before I fall into your clutches!

“No, really… Huh?”

 

What kind of future was that salmon imagining?

Haruki tilted his head at the words of the crying Chep.

 

“Something you absolutely must do?”

“Yes. I’m the best salmon princess, so I have to go to Kamui Rock no matter what.”

 

Kamui Rock.

Upon hearing those words, Haruki looked up.

 

The rocky mountain that loomed over the Kamuikotan River was commonly called “Kamui Rock”.

 

— What’s in that place…?

 

Chep, while being able to speak like a human, was still a monster.

What reason could a monster have to absolutely have to go to Kamui Rock?

 

However, Haruki had come here as an adventurer, and he had the duty to clean up after the second Stampede.

In other words, he had to defeat this monster.

 

“Should I cook you up?”

“Eeeeek!!”

 

The moment Haruki pulled out his dismantling knife, Chep hugged herself like a woman about to be assaulted, and backed off.

 

“At least… At least let me get to Kamui Rock…”

 

Chep acted flirtatiously.

Seeing its despair, Haruki let out a big sigh and put away his knife.

 

He was completely discouraged.

Even if he were to cook this salmon up, he didn’t feel like eating it.

 

To make things worse, the road to a noticeable presence was escaping him with every second that went by!

He didn’t have time to waste with this fish.

 

— I have to move quickly and defeat the monsters so I can be on Kagemitsu’s blog…

 

“Snif.”

“…”

“Ohoho!”

 

A vein on Haruki’s forehead was about to pop.

 

A fish with crocodile tears.

— Guess I’ll cook it after all.

 

Noticing Haruki’s murderous intent, Chep began to tremble.

Paying no mind to that Haruki grabbed hold of Chep.

 

* * * * * * * * *

 

At the same time…

Two adventurers who were active in the middle section rushed through the woods.

 

For them, being featured in a Ranker’s blog wasn’t something trivial.

If all went well, they might be able to catch the interest of companies such as Ichibishi, Kawamae, and Banma, and even associate with one of them!

 

Though the actual reward for this request was rather low, they had no reason not to be enthusiastic.

 

“Hey, I heard something over there!”

“Roger!”

 

One of them pulled out his greatsword, and the other one readied his bow.

 

Just as they held their breath, silence surrounded them.

 

Kamuikotan was in the middle of a great outdoors.

The complete silence was almost painful to the ears of those two urban-raised adventurers.

 

“…?”

 

Eventually, the men realized.

Now matter how big this area was, such complete silence was strange.

 

There would usually be many creatures in the forest.

None of their sounds, not a single chirp could be heard.

 

— Why?

It was unnatural that they couldn’t even hear the cry of the cicadas, who had been incredibly noisy by back when the contest started.

 

Slowly, a cold sweat started to run over the men’s backs.

 

Something was off.

 

As their intuition sensed that something was wrong, they heard something that sounded like steps on the grass coming from somewhere.

 

Was it a monster?

The two men began to worry.

 

The sound seemed to be gradually increasing its speed.

 

*swish… swish…*

*swish, swish, swish, swish*

*swishswishswishswish!!*

 

“~~~~~~~”

 

Unable to bear it any longer, the man with a bow stood up and nocked an arrow.

Then, he froze.

It was as if his soul had escaped from his body.

 

His pale face, deprived of sunlight due to him spending a lot of time inside the dungeons, had lost even more of its color.

 

“W… What’s wrong…?”

 

The man with the greatsword stood up and called out to his companion.

But there was no response.

 

“Hey… Hey!”

 

When he shook his shoulders as hard as he could, the man with the bow finally reacted.

His unfired arrow dropped to the ground, his lips were trembling as if he was panting, and he was pointing forward with his trembling fingers.

 

Was he scared of a monster?

 

Though still taken aback by what had just happened with his companion, the man with the greatsword encouraged himself and turned around.

 

— If there’s a monster in front of us, I’ll cut it down on the spot!

 

Both that resolve and the blood on his cheeks disappeared in an instant.

 

Countless feet crawling on the ground.

A plant that swayed unnaturally.

And in the center of it all, a creepy white face.

 

It looked like a Noh mask used in traditional Japanese theater plays, and it turned to the two adventurers as it cried “GI GI GI”.

 

— FOUND YOU.

 

“”Gyaaaaaaaaaahhh!!””

 

Screaming, the two men ran away at full speed.

With all their strength, they ran away from the woods and headed for the starting point.

 

No way.

Not that thing.

No way we’re fighting that thing.

That was their instincts’ warning.

 

“That thing wasn’t from the upper section of the dungeon, no waaaaay!!”

“That thing was bad news, bad news!!”

 

It was probably from the lower, or even the deeper section.

What a terrible monster was roaming those woods!

 

The men desperately returned to the starting point and immediately appealed to the Ranker Kagemitsu, who was waiting there.

 

But unfortunately for them, Kagemitsu didn’t believe a word they said.

 

“Really, it was a really dangerous-looking monster!”

“That thing was definitely from the lower or the deeper sections!”

“So tell me, how come you two are still alive, then?”

 

The two men tilted their heads, puzzled by Kagemitsu’s question.

If it had been a monster from the lower or deeper sections of the dungeon, it would have definitely killed them the moment they turned their backs at it.

 

But why were they able to escape unharmed?

No one could answer that question.

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