|Author: Ryuusen Hirotsugu||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 3151 characters|
|Translator: Nomad||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1489 words|
「Well, I guess that’s it for the first floor. I heard the monsters only get stronger the higher we go, so we shouldn’t let our guard down though.」
「Don’t worry. No matter what tries to come at us, I’ll cut them down.」
Gilbert spoke first as he collected the arrows he had thrown, Heinrich replying to him with a matter-of-fact tone.
The Staircase to the Sky was a dungeon split into ten floors, the strength of the monsters increasing with every floor. The first floor had D-rank or barely C-rank monsters, but when they got their pass for the dungeon they had to possess the skills to deal with the B-rank monsters that spawned in the highest floors.
「Though well, Mira has better skills than her appearance suggests. We can probably go through this dungeon fairly easily. Summoners are really amazing after all.」
Gilbert voiced his honest opinion as he stuffed the bloodied arrows into his quiver. And while he did not say anything more, Mira stood completely still as if hit by thunder, then after rapidly blinking for some seconds, she literally flew towards Gilbert.
「What did you just say right now?! Could you, could you say it one more time!」
「Wha… what’s this all of a sudden? That you were stronger than I thought?」
The girl one head shorter than Gilbert stared at him with twinkling eyes, like a girl who laid eyes on a ferris wheel for the first time in her life. Gilbert moved aside trying to evade her as he repeated what he had said a moment before.
But those were not the words she was seeking for. She raised her fists as if protesting and nagged at him once more.
「Not that, the last thing! What did you say?!」
「The last? Hmm, that summoners are amazing, that?」
As he finally hit the bullseye, a smile that reminded one of a large flower bloomed in Mira’s lips as she kept repeating 「Exactly, exactly.」 It was the moment her beloved summonings had been recognized.
「I have no idea what just happened, but let’s just keep moving forward. We might have gained some time thanks to you letting us fly here, but we might end up losing time if we loiter around too much.」
Saying that, Gilbert turned around and began climbing the hill. They both were aware the main culprit of that was Gilbert and his lecture, but neither said a thing as they moved forward.
Further deep inside the floor, the stairs carved into the rock walls came into view, leading up high into the next floor.
It was the beginning of another long and arduous climb for them. And all of them sighed at the same time.
Mira sent the Dark Knight bathed in blood back, then summoned a brand new one and climbed to its shoulder.
The two men and the one entity put their feet on the first step of that staircase that seemed to continue so far it faded out of view.
Apart from Mira’s unexpected strength, Gilbert and Heinrich were also able to stand on their own as they passed through the second and third floors without hitches. A large wall of monsters was waiting for them in the fourth floor, but even there Gilbert’s raised arm launched arrows that pierced through it, Heinrich crossing through that opening and slaughtering what he could, while Mira’s Dark Knight crushed the throats of the monsters howling in madness.
At their current pace, climbing the stairs took them way longer than going through the floors themselves.
「With this we’ve conquered the fourth floor as well. I guess we’re pretty much back on schedule now. Let’s go up to the fifth floor and pass the night there like we planned.」
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Gilbert checked the time and said that as he butchered a large monster together with Heinrich.
The Staircase to the Sky was only illuminated by that faint and flickering blue light, so it was easy to lose track of the time inside there.
The large monster was barely in Mira’s view as she opened her menu and checked the time herself. It was 8pm.
「This meat over here looks pretty good.」
「The shoulder huh. It does have a nice color.」
They had slain many monsters on their way there, but they had left them there without really checking their bodies. Those had not looked good to eat, and they wanted to move on as quickly as possible. However, that large monster was different. It looked more or less like a cow, or in more fantasy oriented terms, it was like a minotaur. It’s flesh was known to be edible and many adventurers liked it.
After the fight was over, Gilbert walked over to it as he said 「Guess I found tonight’s dinner.」 Mira’s mind was only flooded with thoughts of how resilient the people in that world were.
「Well then, let’s do it.」
Gilbert wrapped the meat from the monster in a large cloth, then stored it in the Item Box of his Operator’s Bracelet. After they had finished butchering the monster, only its bones remained, lying on the ground. It was almost like they had committed a perfect crime.
And the three culprits walked away without turning once, their well humoured laughter resounding through the space as they headed towards the fifth floor.
They arrived there half an hour after they left the fourth floor. That one was arranged in a more narrow space, as opposed to the past floors. A stone obelisk was erected in the middle of it, a flaming red fire burning on its peak. The ground around it was lit in an orange hue, without any monster spawn points in view around it, which made it look like a good spot for travelers to stop around. If one listened a bit more closely, only the low murmur of a stream of water could be heard.
The fifth floor of the Staircase to the Sky was set up as a resting spot.
「Alright, we arrived at the fifth floor without problems. Let’s sleep here for tonight.」
Gilbert sat besides the obelisk, took a full-blown camping set from his Item Box and prepared the tools used to cook.
「That was quite the workout. This is the first time in my life I’ve climbed so many stairs in a single day.」
Even Heinrich who boasted of his high amount of stamina looked tired as he unfastened his sword and plopped heavily on the ground, then lying on his back and stretching his arms out.
「What now? So pathetic. My rear would be crying in pain if I did that.」
The corner of her lips lifted into a sneer, Mira jumped down from the Dark Knight’s shoulder and stood besides Heinrich.
Heinrich raised his voice saying that happening was obvious, but as soon as he finished his lips were sealed again.
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As soon as he had looked up, he saw something being released from gravity’s grip, spreading out and showing the sacred domain that spread under it, a speck of pure immaculate white that appeared like a flash.
With such a view that no mortal words could ever attempt to describe in front of his eyes, any words he tried to form oscillated between calmness and lust, freezing his tongue for just a moment.
「Is something wrong?」
After sending the Dark Knight off, Mira tilted her head seeing Heinrich unable to stay calm as he lifted his upper body and sat again. He replied saying it was nothing as his eyes danced around as if chasing an imaginary bug, then he stood up again and ran away saying he was going to help Gilbert.
Still… he was completely useless as far as cooking went, so he was tasked with bringing water, which was also not needed after he went a few times, so a few minutes later he had nothing to do so he just sat down again.
「Your attitude has been quirky since a while ago. Is there something angering you? If you don’t tell us what is bothering you we will never know.」
Mira walked towards Heinrich as she said that, sitting in front of him with her legs crossed. From there, she gazed, or rather peeked straight into his eyes.
Feeling like her eyes were piercing through him, his guilt started piling up until he bowed forward and confessed.
「I’m sorry, lady Mira. When you jumped down from the Dark Knight earlier… I well… you could say, I saw your underwear. I’m truly sorry!」
He was literally bowing down to the ground. And since he was wearing his helmet, it gave off an even stronger feeling of respect.
Mira took a second to take in what he had said, then she turned her eyes towards her own lower body and the short dress that reached above her knees, basically a mini-skirt. And then she finally understood as she laughed.
「So that was the reason. You have no reason to worry. You shouldn’t feel bad for having seen it, it’s really not that big of a deal.」
As she said that, she hit her lower body with the palms of her hands. Seeing her act like that, Heinrich calmed down a little.
「You’re mistaken in that. The underwear of a lady is something forbidden. As for me, I think a dress that short is nothing short of outrageous. But I’m not in a place to tell you that, so the most I can tell you is to take good care of yourself!」