Arifureta From Commonplace to World’s Strongest compete edition
Summoned to Another World with a Commonplace Class
-based job. The
rest of his classmates all had combat-based jobs, and he highly doubted his particular
job would be of much use in battle.
Daisuke Hiyama grinned wickedly as he hollered out to Hajime,
”Hey Nagumo. Don tell me you seriously got a non-combat job? Hows a blacksmith
gonna fight monsters? Hey Meld, is this Synergist or whatever a rare job? ”
”No, not particularly. One in every ten people has the class. In fact, all of the craftsmen
the kingdom employs have the job. ”
”Gimme a break, Nagumo. You
e gonna fight with something like that? ” Hiyama folded
his arms provocatively as he said those words. As Hajime looked around, he could see
that most of his classmates, the boys especially, were all laughing at him.
”Who knows. You never know until you try. ”
”Show us your stats then, if you
e so confident. They better be way high to make up
for your shitty job. ”
Hiyama had most likely already guessed Hajimes stats from Captain Melds
expression, but he simply wanted an excuse to bully Hajime some more. He possessed
quite a nasty personality. His three flunkies all jeered at Hajime as well. They were the
kind of stereotypical thugs that bullied the weak and groveled before the mighty. Their
actions were so clearly malicious that Kaori and Shizuku both glared at them, eyes full
Despite how smitten they were with her, none of them seemed to realize she disliked
such bullying. Hajime lazily handed his plate over to Hiyama.
When he saw the stats engraved on it, Hiyama burst out laughing. He passed the plate
down to his other underlings and they all sneered or laughed at Hajime as well.
”Bwahahaha… What the hell, man! You
e like totally average! Actually, 10s exactly
average, so I bet there are even some babies out there stronger than you! ”
”Hyahahaha, youve gotta be kidding me! This guys not even gonna last ten minutes!
Hed die so fast that you couldn even use him as a meat shield! ”
Unable to stand it any longer, Kaori opened her mouth to give them a piece of her mind.
But before she could get out a single word, someone else began yelling at them. That
someone was Aiko-sensei.
”Hey! Stop laughing at him! I won allow anyone to laugh at their classmates on my
watch! As a teacher, I absolutely will not condone it! Now return Nagumo-kuns plate
this instant! ”
The boys were all taken aback by how much anger was visible in Aiko-senseis small
frame. They hurriedly returned Hajimes plate in order to avoid her wrath. Aiko-sensei
turned to Hajime and gave him an encouraging pat on the shoulder.
”Nagumo-kun, don worry about your job! Look, I got a non-combat job too! And aside
from my job, most of my stats are pretty average too! You
e not alone! ”
Aiko-sensei then showed her pink colored plate to Hajime with a ”Here, look! ”
Hatayama Aiko Age: 25 Female Level: 1
Magic Defense: 10
Skills: Soil Management — Soil Restoration — Large-scale Cultivation — Enhanced
Fertilization — Selective Breeding — Plant Appraisal — Fertilizer Production —
Mixed Breeding — Auto Harvesting — Fermentation Proficiency — Wide-area
Temperature Control — Farming Barrier — Fertile Rain — Language Comprehension.
Hajimes eyes resembled a dead fishs once he finished reading Aikos plate.
”Huh? Whats wrong, Nagumo-kun!? ” Aiko asked as she shook Hajime back and forth.
It was true that her overall stats were low, and that she did not possess a combat class,
but her exceptional magic stat and large number of skills meant that she would reach
the level of other heroes with just a little training. And lest everyone forget, an army
marches on its stomach. Aiko-senseis job was nothing like Hajimes. His was so
commonplace that there were myriad others who were more proficient in it. In other
words, even Aiko-sensei was plenty overpowered.
Hajime felt doubly betrayed for getting his hopes up even a little.
”Oh my, Ai-chan, that was the final nail in the coffin… ”
”N-Nagumo-kun! Are you alright!? ”
Shizuku smiled sadly as she watched Hajime shut down, while Kaori worriedly ran
over to him. Aiko-sensei tilted her head in confusion. As always, she tried her best, but
ended up being completely unhelpful. The students smiled at her unchanging
ditziness. Aiko-sensei had managed to achieve her initial goal of preventing Hajimes
bullying, but he still smiled emptily as he thought of the difficulties that lay ahead, and
the treatment he would definitely receive.
Two weeks had passed since Hajime was labeled the weakest and most useless
member of the class. He was currently in the library using the break time he had
between training sessions to investigate something. In his hands was a book labeled
”Monsters of the Northern Continent, a Picture Book. ” As its name suggested, it was a
picture book about monsters.
As for why he was reading such a book, that was because he had not grown at all after
two weeks of training. In fact, the past two weeks had only served to highlight how
pathetically weak he was. Hoping to cover his physical deficiencies with knowledge,
Hajime spent most of his free time in the library.
He perused the picture book for a while before suddenly breathing out a sigh and
throwing it down on the desk. The librarian happened to be passing by right as he did
that, so Hajime was met with a glowering stare.
Hajime jumped, as he was clearly startled, and hurriedly apologized. The librarians
angry glare implied that he wouldn tolerate it happening a second time. What on
earth am I doing? Hajime thought with a sigh.
Hajime suddenly took out his status plate and stared at it, his hands resting on his
Hajime Nagumo Age: 17 Male Level: 2
Magic Defense: 12
Skills: Transmute — Language Comprehension
That was all the growth he had to show after two weeks of harsh training. I can even
say Ive gotten much stronger! Hajime screamed internally. For comparison, Koukis
stats had grown at an astronomical rate.
Kouki Amanogawa Age: 17 Male Level: 10
Magic Defense: 200
Skills: Elemental Affinity — Elemental Resistance — Physical Resistance — Advanced
Sorcery — Swordsmanship — Superhuman Strength — Armor Proficiency —
Foresight — Increased Mana Recovery — Detect Presence — Detect Magic — Limit
Break — Language Comprehension
His growth rate was roughly five times as fast as Hajimes. And to make matters worse,
Hajime had discovered he had no real affinity for magic.
What exactly did having no magical affinity mean? Well, it had to do with how magic
functioned in this world. In the world of Tortus, magic functioned in a very specific
manner. By chanting an incantation, one could transfer their mana into a magic circle,
and the spell inscribed within that circle would activate, thus casting magic. It was
impossible for anyone to directly manipulate their mana, so each spell needed its own
corresponding magic circle.
Additionally, the length of an incantation was directly proportional to how much mana
one could pour into a magic circle, so the effectiveness of a spell was directly
proportional to the amount of mana used to cast it. And the more complicated a spell
was, or the larger an area of effect it had, the more inscriptions needed in the magic
circle to complete the spell. Which naturally meant that the magic circle itself needed
to be larger too.
For comparison, the standard fireball spell that appeared in most RPGs and the like
normally required a magic circle about ten centimeters in diameter. Every spell
needed the basic inscriptions for the element, strength, range, span, and magic
absorption (the amount of mana someone needed to provide the magic circle in order
to activate the spell). If one wanted to add additional parameters such as length the
spell is maintained, then extra inscriptions were needed for that as well.
There was, however, an exception to this rule. And that exception was magical affinity.
Magical affinity was basically a measure of how well ones natural constitution
allowed them to shorten inscriptions. For example, someone with an affinity for the
fire element would no longer need to add the element portion of the inscription to
their spell as long as it was a fire-based one. People with an aptitude for something
were able to use a mental image to take the place of the inscription. They didn need
to carve the inscription anywhere into the magic circle. By simply imagining flames
while chanting the spell, they were capable of adding the fire element to it.
Most people had some level of magical affinity, which meant that the above mentioned
ten centimeter magic circle would generally be smaller. However, Hajime had
absolutely no affinity for magic whatsoever, meaning that on top of inscriptions for
the basic five properties, he had to include inscriptions for the trajectory, spread, and
even conclusion for each of his spells. For him, the standard fireball spell required a
magic circle two meters in diameter, making magic completely impractical in combat.
On a somewhat related topic, magic circles came in two different types. The more
common of the two were magic circles drawn onto a special kind of disposable paper.
The other type were magic circles carved into specific minerals. The former allowed
for many different variations of spells, but they burned out after one use and their
power was generally on the low side. On the other hand, the latter were bulky and
limited in the spells they could cast, but they were reusable and far more powerful
than their paper counterparts. The staves Ishtar and the other priests carried all had
mineral-type magic circles engraved into them.
Because of his low stats, close combat was impossible, and because of his lack of
magical affinity, he could not rely on magic either. The only skill his job had provided
him, Transmute, simply allowed him to transform the shape of various ores, or forge
them together into alloys. It was effectively useless. He was also told there were no
useful artifacts for Synergists, and was simply given a pair of gloves with related magic
circles inscribed into it.
After a lot of training, he was finally able to make pitfalls and protrusions in the
ground, and the more he trained, the larger he was able to make their sizes, but… he
had to be in direct contact with the target to activate them. Running up in front of an
enemy and then squatting down to put his hands on the ground was no better than
suicide, so even those skills were of no real help to him in combat.
Over the past two weeks, Hajime had come to be treated as a complete waste of space
by his classmates. He had attempted to increase his knowledge as a last ditch attempt
to somehow become useful, but even that prospect seemed to have dim hopes, so he
sighed more and more frequently as time went on.
If Im going to be useless around here, I might as well just go out on a journey or
something, Hajime thought as he stared out the library window. He had reached the
end of his rope. Hajime had spent the last two weeks devoting himself more than
anyone else to the lectures they were being given about the world, spending all his
time thinking of where to go.
Im thinking the land of demi-humans would probably be best… I can really say Ive
been to another world if I haven even seen a single pair of animal ears. But supposedly
their territory is really deep within the sea of trees. And they
e apparently discriminated
against everywhere, so aside from a few slaves, you don really see many of them outside
According to what Hajime had learned so far, the demi-humans were harshly
discriminated against, so they lived deep within the Haltina Woods to avoid contact
with other people. They were supposedly discriminated against because they didn
possess any mana.
Legend stated that starting with Ehit, each of the gods shaped the very foundations of
the world with magic. The magic everyone used now was supposedly a deteriorated
version of the power the gods once held. For that reason, it was common belief that
magic itself was a gift from the gods. Of course, said belief was strengthened by the
fact that the Holy Church preached it as the truth. Because of that, demi-humans, who
didn possess mana and were unable to use magic, were seen as wicked creatures
whod been abandoned by the gods.
This had naturally led Hajime to question, ”But what about monsters? ” However, it
seemed that monsters were simply thought of as natural disasters, so no one
considered them creatures who had received ”Gods blessing ” or anything along those
lines, and they were seen as nothing more than wild beasts. What a convenient
interpretation, Hajime thought, clearly disgusted.
Even worse, though the demons all worshiped a god different from the humans ”Lord
Ehit, ” they too discriminated against the demi-humans.
Demons supposedly had a far higher magical affinity than humans, so they were able
to cast spells with much shorter incantations and smaller magic circles than them.
They resided in the center of the southern continent, in the demon kingdom of
Garland. Though few in number, it seemed that even children in the kingdom were
capable of wielding powerful offensive magic. So, in a way, every single citizen of the
kingdom was a soldier.
The humans of this world saw the demons who worshiped a different god as their
mortal foes, thanks to the teachings of the Holy Church, and despised the demihumans as godless vermin. And apparently the demons were no better. Though he
couldn be sure, Hajime guessed the demi-humans just wanted to be left alone. It
made sense considering how exclusive the other two groups seemed to be.
Hmm, if navigating the huge sea of trees seems impossible, then maybe I should try for
the western ocean instead? If Im remembering right, theres a city called Erisen that sits
by the sea. If I can get my fill of animal ears, then I at least want to see some mermaids.
Fantasy creatures like those are every mans dream. Plus, I want to see what the
seafoods like in this world.
The coastal city of Erisen was home to a group of demi-humans known as seamen, and
rested on the shores of the western ocean. They were the only group of demi-humans
that the kingdom sheltered. The reason being that the city produced about 80% of the
kingdoms seafood. Such a practical reason.
What happened to them being a godless race? Hajime had thought sarcastically when
he had first heard about them.
But in order to get to the western sea from his location, one first had to cross the Gruen
Desert. Two important locations that were used as waypoint markers for traders in
the desert were the oasis Dukedom of Ankaji and the Grand Gruen Volcano. And the
Grand Gruen Volcano was one of the seven labyrinths of the world.
The seven labyrinths referred to the seven highly dangerous locations scattered
throughout the world. To the southwest of the Heiligh Kingdom, between the capital
and the Gruen Desert, lay another one of them, the Great Orcus Labyrinth. The
previously mentioned Haltina Woods was also another one of these labyrinths.
Though they were called the seven labyrinths, in truth, only three of them had ever
been documented. The rest were places that were believed to exist due to evidence
provided in ancient books and other such manuscripts.
Though their existence had not been confirmed, theyd still been provisionally marked
on maps. The Reisen Gorge that divided the northern and southern continents was
one such place, while the Frost Caverns that lay in the Schnee Snow Fields was another
I probably won be able to make it across that desert… In that case, the only way Ill ever
get to see demi-humans is if I go to the empire and see the slaves they have, but Im not
sure I could bear to see those poor animal ears suffering as slaves. The empire hed
referred to was the Hoelscher Empire. It was a country that had been formed three
hundred years ago, during one of the larger wars between the humans and demons. It
had been formed by a certain mercenary group, and was a militaristic country that
boasted a large population of adventurers and mercenaries. They held to the doctrine
that might makes right, and were a country of rather unsavory repute.
Its citizens believed in using everything they could to further their own ends, whether
that meant demi-human slaves or anything else, so the slave trade flourished there.
The empire lay to the east of the kingdom, and sandwiched between them was the
independent merchant republic, Fuhren. As the name suggested, they were a neutral
city that didn rely on either country for support. Being a merchant republic, they
boasted a vast amount of wealth, and the flow of money played heavily into their
politics. It was also what allowed them to remain neutral. It was said that anything
ones heart desired could be bought in that city, such was its economic clout.
Haaah, but if I ever want to get back home, I can just run away… Wait, crap, its almost
time for training! Realizing that he was simply trying to avert his eyes from reality,
Hajime shook his head and quickly left the library so as to not be late for training. It
was only a short distance from the library to the palace, but the bustle of the capital
could be seen even in such a short trek. The voices of merchants hawking their wares
mingled with the happy laughter of playing children and the angry scolding of their
parents. The capital was a quaint, peaceful city.
Since it doesn look like a wars going to break out anytime soon, maybe I can just
convince them to send me back… Hajime dreamed of the impossible as he walked back
to the palace. Hed just wanted to avoid thinking about the despair that awaited him
once he arrived.
When he arrived at the training grounds, Hajime found a few other students already
there, chatting with each other or getting some early practice in. It looked like he had
arrived surprisingly early. Hajime decided to pass the time doing a bit of practice of
his own, so he took out the slender longsword hed been given.
As he did, he felt a sudden impact hit him square in the back and he stumbled a few
steps forward. He managed to avoid falling, but chills ran down his spine as he saw
how close he had been to impaling himself on a drawn sword. He frowned as he turned
back and saw the usual group of four all wearing the same obnoxious expression.
As always, Daisuke Hiyama was standing behind him, together with the rest of the
Petty Four, as Hajime liked to call them. Ever since theyd started training, the four of
them had taken every opportunity they could to bully Hajime. They were half the
reason he found training so depressing, with the other half being how pathetic his
”Yo, Nagumo. What are you doing? You know that swords totally useless in your hands
anyway, right? I mean, come on, you
e a total weakling! ”
”Hey man, thats going too far. I mean, you
e totally right though, Hiyama… Gyahaha! ”
”Why do you even bother coming to training every day? Id be way too embarrassed if
I were you! ”
”Hey, Daisuke. Hes just so pitiful… Don you think we should help him out with his
training a little? ” Hiyama and the others laughed hysterically, as if Shinji had actually
said something funny.
”Huh? Come on, Shinji, don you think you
e being a bit too nice to him? Well, Im a
nice guy too, so I guess I don mind helping out. ”
”Yeah, that sounds like a great idea. Im also a super nice guy, so Ill pitch in. Man, you
better thank us, Nagumo. We
e taking out some of our precious time to help out a
weakling like you. ” They put their arms around Hajimes shoulders in a false gesture
of kindness and dragged him away to an inconspicuous location. Most of his
classmates noticed, but they pretended not to see anything.
”Oh no, Im fine by myself. You don have to waste your time on me. ” Hajime tried to
refuse, though he knew it was pointless.
”Huh!? Here I am going out of my way to train your sorry ass and this is what I get? I
can believe you! You should be on your knees thanking me! ”
As he said that, Hiyama punched Hajime in the side, hard. Hajime groaned in pain as
he felt Hiyamas fist sink into his soft flank. Hiyamas group had steadily been getting
more and more violent with him as of late. While it mightve been natural for
hormone-driven boys in puberty to go mad with power once they got their hands on
some, that made it no easier for the one who had to bear the brunt of their lapse in
sanity. Though it was not as if there was anything Hajime could do to fight back. All he
could do was grit his teeth and try to bear it.
Eventually, they brought him all the way to a secluded corner of the training grounds
that couldn be easily seen, then Hiyama thrust Hajime down to the ground.
”Come on, get up. Its time for some fun training. ” Hiyama, Nakano, Saitou, and Kondou
all surrounded Hajime at those words. Hajime bit his lip in frustration as he stood up.
He felt something crash into his back as soon as he rose to his feet. Saitou had hit him
with the sheath of his sword. He flew forward, groaning in pain, and was met with
”Hey now, you can sleep there. Youll get burned if you do! Incinerate all that stands
in my path — Fireball. ”
Nakano unleashed a fireball at Hajime. As the impact hed just received made it
impossible for him to get back up right away, Hajime frantically rolled to the side,
barely avoiding the incoming fireball. However, Saitou had predicted Hajime would
dodge, so hed cast another spell in his direction.
”Rend my foes O wind — Wind Sphere. ” The clod of hardened wind hit Hajime just as
he was getting up, which made him double over in pain as he was blown back. He
collapsed to the ground once more, throwing up.
The magic they had cast were all low-level spells with simple incantations. But even
weak magic like that hit as hard as a pro boxers punch. The reason even their weak
spells hit so hard was because of their magical affinities combined with the rare
artifacts they had received from the king.
”Tch, I can believe you
e so weak. Are you even trying, Nagumo? ” Hiyama lazily
kicked Hajime in the stomach as he said that. Hajime desperately tried to keep his
stomach from emptying itself entirely.
The lynching disguised as ”training ” continued for a while longer. Hajime bit his lip,
cursing his own powerlessness. Maybe he should have fought back, even if he knew
he was too weak to truly achieve anything.
But Hajime had always been averse to violence. He even had trouble really hating
people. Hed always folded when cornered into a situation that seemed as if it might
devolve into a fight. Always believing that it would end eventually as long as he could
put up with it. And that bearing it was always better than fighting back. Some people
thought him kind for it, while others simply saw him as a loser. Hajime himself wasn
sure which he was.
Around the time the pain had grown nearly unbearable, Hajime suddenly heard a girls
”What do you think you
e doing!? ”
Hiyama and the others paled when they heard that voice. It was only natural. After all,
it belonged to the girl they were all smitten with, Kaori. And not just her. Shizuku,
Kouki, and Ryutarou were all with her.
”Umm, please don misunderstand anything. We were just helping Hajime with his
Kaori ignored Hiyamas excuses and ran over to Hajime, who was huddled on the
ground, coughing. Hiyama and the others had ceased to matter at all to Kaori when
she saw the state Hajime was in.
”Training, huh? Wouldn you say that was a bit too one-sided to be called training? ”
Shizuku uttered those words in an icy tone.
”We were just… ”
”Save your breath. No matter how unfit for battle Nagumo-kun may be, hes still our
classmate. Make sure you don do it again, ” Kouki calmly interjected.
”If youve got time to be messing around, then work on your own damn skills instead! ”
Hiyama and everyone else started giving different excuses as they smiled awkwardly
and beat a hasty retreat. Kaori cast some healing magic on Hajime, and he gradually
felt the pain recede.
”Th-Thank you, Shirasaki-san. You saved me. ”
Hajime smiled painfully and Kaori shook her head at his words, her eyes filled with
”Do they always do things like that to you? If so, Ill… ” Kaori glared angrily in the
direction Hiyama and the others ran off to, but Hajime hurriedly stopped her.
”No, no, its not always this bad! Im fine, really, so please don mind me! ”
Kaori didn seem fully convinced, so Hajime smiled and said, ”Im fine, really. ” At those
words, Kaori reluctantly gave in.
”Nagumo-kun, if anything else happens, please, for Kaoris sake too, tell us right away. ”
Shizuku said that with a sidelong glance at Kaori, a strained expression on her face all
the while. Hajime was about to thank her for her concern, but the resident hero had
to go and ruin the mood.
”But you know, Nagumo, you need to put in some effort of your own. Youll never grow
strong if you keep using your weakness as an excuse. Ive been hearing that you
spending all your time in the library when we
e not training. If I was in your shoes,
Id spend every spare moment training to get stronger. I really think you need to start
taking this more seriously, Nagumo. Don you think Hiyama and the others might have
done this because they were trying to fix that frivolous attitude of yours? ”
No matter what Hajime did, Kouki always interpreted it like that. Hajime was
dumbstruck for a moment before he remembered that Amanogawa-kun was the kind
of person who believed that all people were inherently good, and filtered everything
he saw through that world view.
To Kouki, it was actually unthinkable on a fundamental level that humans could be so
cruel. If that was how he saw everything, then it stood to reason that he believed there
was a proper reason behind all cruel acts. ”Maybe the problem was with the person
they were attacking! ” was a natural conclusion to draw with that kind of mindset.
Koukis words contained no real ill will. His warnings toward Hajime were actually
sincere, in fact. That was why Hajime no longer possessed the strength to even try and
correct Kouki. Besides, it was pointless to say anything to someone so convinced of
their own righteousness.
Shizuku knew that as well, so she put a hand over her mouth to stifle a sigh before
apologizing to Hajime.
”Sorry about that. Kouki at least means well. ”
”Ahaha, yeah, I know. Don worry about it. ” Hajime smiled and replied with the same
reassuring words he always did. He slowly stood up, brushing the dust off his clothes.
”Anyway, its almost time for training to start. Shall we head back? ” They all walked
back to the training grounds together at Hajimes insistence. Kaori kept shooting him
worried glances, but Hajime pretended not to notice. As a man, it felt somewhat wrong
to let himself be doted on by a girl the same age.
As they returned to the training grounds, Hajime breathed a sigh for the umpteenth
time that day. The road ahead certainly looked grim for him.
Normally the students were given free time after training until dinner, but Captain
Meld held them back after training had ended on that day. The students all looked at
him curiously, and once he had their attention, he proclaimed loudly,
”Tomorrow, as part of your practical training, we will be going on an expedition to the
Great Orcus Labyrinth. Ill prepare all the necessary equipment you guys will need, but
don think this is going to be anything like the monster hunts youve been going on
outside the capital! You guys better prepare yourselves! Get as much rest as possible
tonight so you
e ready! Thats all, dismissed! ” He kept his announcement brief, then
left right after he had delivered it.
Hajime stood at the end of the line of chattering students and looked up at the sky.
Very grim indeed.
The Great Orcus Labyrinth. It was a massive dungeon said to span a hundred floors.
As it was one of the seven great labyrinths, the deeper one went, the stronger the
monsters they faced. Despite the dangers, it was a very popular training spot for
adventurers, mercenaries, and new troops alike. The main reasons for that were
because it was easy enough to measure the relative strength of the monsters one
would have to face based on the floor they were on, and that the mana crystals
contained within the monsters were of a higher quality than the ones harvested from
monsters on the surface.
A mana crystal was the core of a monster; it was what made a monster a monster. The
more powerful a monster, the bigger and purer a mana crystal it held inside. Mana
crystals were an important component in magic circles. A magic circle only needed to
be drawn to be able to cast the spell inscribed within, but it would have reduced
effectiveness without powdered mana crystals used in the engraving of the circle. In
fact, it would only be one third as powerful.
Mana crystals allowed for more efficient transferal of mana, which was why they
improved effectiveness so much. In addition, most commonplace magical tools used
mana crystals as a power source. Because they were used by the common folk and not
just the military, mana crystals were always in rather high demand.
However, monsters that possessed high quality mana crystals were also capable of
using powerful specialized magic. It was specialized because while they had large
quantities of mana, monsters were incapable of using magic circles or chants, meaning
that they could only ever use a single type of spell. Still, being able to unleash that spell
without needing a magic circle or incantation was a powerful asset. It was the number
one reason one could never let their guard down when fighting a monster.
Hajime and the others arrived in the outpost town of Horaud, together with Captain
Meld and a few of his knights. It was a small town that primarily existed to service the
adventurers who traveled there wishing to challenge the Great Orcus Labyrinth. As
the labyrinth was also used as a training arena for new soldiers, the kingdom
maintained a state-run inn at the town, which was where the students were all staying.
Hajime was glad to see a normal room for once, and happily dived into his bed with a
relieved sigh. Every other room had at least two people in it, but Hajime had one all
”Wow, lucky me, ” Hajime muttered, somewhat disappointed. He did feel a little lonely
being in a room alone, after all.
Tomorrow they would all enter the labyrinth. The plan was to go no further than floor
twenty, which according to Captain Meld was still high enough that the knights would
be able to protect him. All Hajime could say in response were apologies for how much
of a burden he was. He honestly wouldve preferred if they left him behind and went
on by themselves… but he didn have the courage to say that to Captain Meld,
considering the atmosphere and all.
Hajime started reading the picture book he had borrowed that described some of the
monsters that inhabited the lower levels of the dungeon. After a while, however, he
decided he would need as much rest as he could get, so he planted himself down in
bed despite the early hour. The skills hed developed in school to allow him to sleep in
any situation still worked even in another world.
But just as he was dozing off, he heard a knock on his door that broke him out of his
stupor. Though he had mentioned it was still a little early, that had meant early for
him, who was used to pulling back to back all-nighters. It was actually quite late for
the people of Tortus. Suspecting the unexpected late night visitor might be Hiyama
and the others, Hajime tensed up. However, his fears vanished when he heard the voice
on the other side of the door.
”Nagumo-kun, are you awake? Its me, Shirasaki. Can we talk for a bit? ”
What on earth? Hajime stiffened up for a second before hurriedly rushing over to the
door. He quickly unbolted and opened his door. Standing on the other side was Kaori,
wearing nothing but a cardigan over her pure white negligee.
”…What in tarnation? ”
”Huh? ” Hajime was so shocked that he unintentionally slipped into an odd accent for
a moment there. Kaori looked at him blankly, so she must not have heard him right.
Hajime composed himself as best he could and asked what she wanted while trying to
avoid looking at her as much as possible. As much of a 2D advocate as he mightve
been, Hajime was still a teenage boy. Kaoris appearance was a bit too stimulating for
”Ah, umm, its nothing. Anyway, whats up? Do you have a message for me or
”No. I was hoping we could talk for a bit, Nagumo-kun… But I guess Im being a bother,
aren I? ”
”…Come on in. ” Hajime asked what he thought was the most likely reason for Kaoris
appearance, but she bluntly refused and gave a most unexpected reply. And she had
asked him with such pleading puppy dog eyes too. The combination was super
effective! Before he knew it, Hajime had already thrown the door wide and invited
”Thanks! ” Kaori happily stepped inside without any hesitation, then sat down at the
table by the window.
Still somewhat confused, Hajime began reflexively brewing her some tea. Brewing
might have been a bit of an overstatement, however, as it was just some crappy black
tea he made by dumping some teabags into a pot of water. He made enough tea for the
both of them and offered Kaori a cup. Once the tea had been served, he sat down across
”Thank you. ” Despite the terrible quality of the tea, Kaori still accepted it graciously.
She gently brought the cup to her lips, and the moonlight illuminated her figure as she
did. Her black hair glowed faintly in the silver light, wreathing her in a halo. She looked
almost like an angel.
Hajime stared, captivated in a purely platonic manner by her mysterious aura. He
finally returned to his senses after Kaori put the cup down with a clink. In an attempt
to calm himself down, Hajime downed his cup of crappy black tea in one big gulp. He
choked a little as the deluge of liquid poured down his throat. Well, that was rather
Kaori chuckled as she saw him sputter. In order to distract himself from the
embarrassment, Hajime quickly started talking.
”So, what was it you wanted to talk to me about? The dungeon trip tomorrow? ” Kaori
nodded in affirmation, and her smile was replaced by an unbelievably grave
”I want you… to stay here when we go to the labyrinth tomorrow. Ill convince the
instructors and the rest of our classmates, so please, don go! ” Kaori grew more and
more heated as she spoke, and by the end she was leaning forward into Hajime,
pleading with him.
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