129 Part 3
These were the reactions from the members of Team Aerial the moment he took off his mask and his presence became zero.
“O-Oh…” said Kagemitsu, as his face became stiff,
“–Wha!?” said Van, as his eyes opened wide,
“What the…” said Yoshi, unable to find words to continue speaking,
“A-Amazing!” said Doraneko, in an eerie monotone voice,
“Even I can’t get a sign of where he is…” said Becky, with a completely astonished face.
At that point, Haruki felt as if his heart was about to crumble.
Exactly at that point where it had started to crack, Karen’s reaction was…
She was unable to resist Team Aerial’s bewilderment, and bursted into laughter.
Haruki turned pale.
He was so pale he could have melted into the air.
He hoped that at least that member of the Self-Defense Force he had walked right next to would have noticed something.
But even he turned out to be hopelessly unaware, which caused Haruki’s tear glands to finally give way.
The fact that Kagemitsu’s strategy had worked well was a godsend.
However, Haruki couldn’t be pleased with that fact.
Haruki escaped by walking around the old school building while being completely ignored, as if he had vanished into thin air.
The members of the Self-Defense Force had already started to gather near Mt. Hakodate Dungeon.
The Self-Defense Forces should have made their move as soon as the unique-species monster appeared, but they were going to fight it today.
The reason for this delay was that they had lots of preparations to make before marching on.
The Self-Defense Forces had about 100 members.
They were assembled into platoons.
There were a total of four of these platoons.
Each of their leaders were handing medicine to the rest of the members.
It must have been some recovery potion that they purchased a few days prior.
The company commander who assembled the platoons was conducting the final verification of the operation together with his assistant.
The Self-Defense Forces had (just in case) restricted access to the area around the dungeon.
There were plenty of Self-Defense Force members around the ticket gate of Mt. Hakodate Dungeon.
The Self-Defense Force members seemed to be under a lot of pressure. They had bags under their eyes and sunken cheeks.
There was no light in their eyes.
Haruki felt a deep pain in his chest, as he could very well relate to being overworked to the point of staying up all night working.
After confirming that there were no special police or adventurers around other than him, Haruki headed for the ticket gate.
Feeling an immense joy after the ticket gate had responded properly to his existence (It’s only you, the only one who recognizes me!), Haruki crossed the entrance of the dungeon, stood at the first step of the stairs and took out his Skill Board.
He quickly swiped his way through the board, searching for the skill trees of the Self-Defense Force members.
The reason why Kagemitsu had devised a plan to escape the confinement room was precisely for this.
It was all to protect the members of the Self-Defense Force.
From this point on, everything was Haruki’s call.
He was free to try to talk them out of their mission, or to try to stall for time until Ichibishi arrived.
Haruki had been tasked with saving the Self-Defense Force members from their suicide mission by all means necessary.
It was a very serious responsibility.
The Self-Defense Force was no match for the Dungeon Lord’s unique-species that had appeared in Mt. Hakodate.
This was the opinion of Team Aerial, a team of top-class adventurers.
If left to their own devices, the Self-Defense Force’s fate was most likely going to go according to Team Aerial’s expectations.
This is why Haruki had taken matters into his own hands.
Even if that meant using his Stealth ability, which he hates so much, right at the beginning of the operation…
Never forsake a life that is within your reach.
Haruki would never choose to abandon someone to their fate out of fear of his own presence disappearing completely.
However, all of Team Aerial agreed that it was practically impossible for Haruki to defeat the Dungeon Lord while protecting the entire Self-Defense Force by himself.
In fact, apart from Kagemitsu, all members of Team Aerial were against the operation.
Karen must have felt a bit intimidated since she was surrounded by senior adventurers, and while she was shaking her body uncomfortably, her eyes showed she was concerned for Haruki’s wellbeing.
The problem wasn’t whether or not Haruki would be able to escape. The problem was about what he would do next.
That’s why everyone other than Kagemitsu and Haruki himself were against the plan.
“I believe in Air.”
With those, Kagemitsu overcame everyone’s opposition.
Kagemitsu trusted Haruki.
For that reason, Haruki wouldn’t hesitate to deliver.
He intended to live up to his expectations with all his might.
He could only help people when they were within his reach.
However, when they were within his reach, he would do everything in his power to help them.
As he used his Skill Board to look at the skill levels of the members of the Self-Defense Force, Haruki was surprised about how low they actually were.
At first, Haruki thought there were a few special cases who had particularly low skill levels, but that wasn’t really the case.
Their highest skills were at level 2 at most, and the combat abilities of all their members averaged level 1.
And they didn’t have any Special skills.
“I thought it was normal to have a Special skill, but I guess I was wrong about that…”
Almost all of the skill trees Haruki had seen so far had Special skills.
However, it seemed that Special skills were more rare than that, and that people normally wouldn’t have them.
How have they been able to defeat the Dungeon Lord with such a low overall skill level? That question emerged in Haruki’s mind, but actually, the Dungeon Lord is basically a raid battle.
Depending on the tactics, it would be possible to defeat the Dungeon Lord even though the average skill level of your raid party was low.
In addition to that…
“…Maybe it’s because this guy’s around.”