Authors: Fujino Omori
The spell is very short, but he needs some time to prepare. I guess Welf’s Magic isn’t perfect.
“Wait, you said ‘on a monster’…Does that mean you’ve used it on people?”
“Yeah. I asked one of the guys in my
to help me out. Turned into quite the show.”
“…Mr. Welf, that’s…”
“I know I shouldn’t have tried it, but I just had to know what it did. And he knew that there was a bit of a risk, not knowing what would happen…But yeah, it was completely my fault.”
Lilly’s face became scarier and scarier during Welf’s explanation until he finally grimaced and admitted his wrongdoing.
Just maybe, there is a reason that his fellow members of
don’t like him other than his Crozzo blood…
But our path is clear thanks to him. We have another way to keep hellhounds at bay. That’s big.
We make our way past their bodies, the monsters dying in front
of us. I can hear their faint breathing, but they make no move to pursue us.
We do the same thing to the next monsters we come across.
We avoid all attacks while doing our best to endure with the smell of the pouch around Lilly’s neck. I use Firebolt on anything that gets too close for comfort.
Welf takes care of the hellhounds. Now that he knows the timing and distance, any of the monsters that try to use their flaming attack become victims of his anti-magic Magic.
“What’s this? A potion?”
I pull a vial filled with a thick red liquid out of my leg holster and hand it to him.
He drinks about half before his eyes open in surprise.
“This is no magic potion. I feel lighter.”
I gave him a double potion. It’s another of Nahza’s creations.
After walking all this way on basically one leg and casting that many spells, he had to have been hurting, but it looks like the potion does the trick.
I breathe a sigh of relief and explain it to him. A genuine smile grows on his lips for the first time in a long time.
“This is good stuff. You have to tell me where I can get more.”
“Once we get back, I’ll take you there as often as you like…”
I smile back at him as he gives me the rest of the potion. I down it in two gulps.
A new wave of energy passes through my body. My mind and physical strength aren’t back up to full, but they’re much better than before.
“…Mr. Bell, how about sharing some with Lilly?”
“Eh? We just finished it, didn’t we? Don’t want to waste any.”
“No fair, no fair! It’s no fair that only Mr. Welf got some!”
“What’re you talking about?”
Finally, a relaxed conversation among party members. A little bit of the tension is gone. Being careful not to let our guard down, we let ourselves relax a bit.
Our Dungeon journey continues, me lending a shoulder to Welf and Lilly watching our backs.
We have hope as we put one foot in front of the other, until—
I see a hole in the Dungeon floor as I turn a corner. It’s right in the middle of the path in this tunnel.
It’s almost like it was set apart from the other paths we could’ve taken. It’s a weird-looking, uneven hole, too.
I help Welf over to the hole and we both look down. Lilly isn’t far behind and confirms what both of us were thinking—it’s connected to a lower floor.
Judging from its depth…probably the sixteenth floor.
We look away from the dark void and exchange glances before nodding to one another.
I put my right arm firmly around Welf’s waist and my left around Lilly’s backpack.
All of us take a deep breath and jump in.
A golden moon hung in the sky.
The sun completely set, a beautiful night sky spread out over Orario. Magic-stone lamps dotted the city like precious jewels glinting in the night.
The streets were filled with people enjoying one another’s company, thousands of dots of light around them. And in the center of the city, a building loomed over Central Park.
A tower stood over the entrance to the Dungeon. Babel.
A certain goddess looked away from it all from the highest floor of the white tower and moved toward a door.
. Her shoes hit the floor as she walked. She tossed her silver hair back over her shoulders with both hands as she went. “Did I keep you waiting?”
She opened a large wooden door after traversing the long hallway. The Goddess of Beauty—Freya—was the first to offer a greeting.
The room was adorned with long bookshelves filled with many expensive and luxurious items. Her favorite attendant, Ottar, and one other god with one of his followers gathered here.
“No, not at all. Sorry for taking up your time, Lady Freya.”
Hermes was sitting at a rather strange table designed to resemble an apple. He greeted her with a smile and a jubilant voice. Asfi, however, couldn’t hide her nervousness.
Freya glanced at both of them before taking a seat at the table with Ottar at her side.
Each of her movements was graceful and captivating. Her black dress revealed an enormous amount of cleavage as she slid into the chair, her sizable bust swaying. The chair lightly squeaked as she leaned back, silver hair brushing against her white necklace.
Asfi was captivated by her and blushed scarlet red before averting her eyes. Although his follower had been completely taken in by the goddess’s beauty, Hermes just kept on smiling in his own charming way.
The two deities sat at either side of the table with their followers standing behind them.
“So, what is it?”
Freya chose to bypass any idle chatter and get straight to the point.
She sat with her shoulders square to him, legs uncrossed with a very confident smile on her lips. Hermes’s narrowed eyes opened very wide.
“As I’m sure you’re already aware, Bell Cranell has yet to return from the Dungeon. Hestia and I are on our way to help him, Lady Freya.”
“So, I came here to make a request.”
“Why would you bother to come to me?”
Freya’s expression didn’t change. Both of the gods exchanged glances and smiles.
“You protected him, Lady Freya. At the last Denatus, you protected Bell.”
“He’s someone worthy of the attention of someone as beautiful as yourself. So you can’t blame me for being interested.”
Ten days ago in this very building during the gods’ Denatus meeting, Freya had indeed stuck her neck out to protect Bell. More specifically, she stopped Loki from trying to figure out why he’d grown so fast, by pointing out to the others that it was forbidden for them to investigate personal affairs.
Freya had all of the male gods present at Denatus under her spell from the beginning. Her beauty was powerful enough to keep them in a trance and doing her bidding without thinking about her motivations.
Hermes should have been one of them.
“Lady Freya, I’m crazy about you. However, I’m not so far gone that I don’t notice something right under my nose.”
…In other words, he had been acting.
The other male deities around him were practically falling over themselves with one look at her. All he had to do was blend in.
“Well played,” she whispered as she remembered the charming god’s performance.
“You’re going about this much differently than usual, but I doubt anyone else has noticed.”
Freya’s “recruiting style” was very well known. Once she’d scouted someone she wanted, she’d make her move immediately.
Despite her usual straightforward hands-on approach, she had yet to do the same thing with Bell. The Freya that Hermes knew wouldn’t have wasted time jumping through hoops.
Most likely, the other gods who had been taken in by Freya’s beauty wouldn’t have noticed that the boy was at the center of her sudden change in strategy.
“Fine, then,” said Freya. It was pointless to try and keep up appearances given how much Hermes already knew.
She stopped trying to hide the fact that she was interested in the boy and cast her silver gaze on the deity across from her. It was her way of saying
get to the point
“I have no interest in playing with your toy. I just want to see with my own eyes what he can do.”
Hermes assumed a serious expression as he spelled it out.
In the blink of an eye, his face changed to that of a beggar on the street.
“So please—please leave my
alone, Lady Freya?!”
Genuinely surprised by Hermes’s request, Freya sat quietly for a moment before looking down on him like a pathetic worm unworthy of the dirt it was living in. She kept that expression for a long time, and it had Hermes on the verge of tears.
The two strongest
in Orario belonged to Loki and Freya. If Freya seriously decided to come after them,
would be wiped out in no time flat.
That was why Hermes was here—for insurance. Hermes was apparently very fond of his own
At the same time, he wasn’t lying—but he wasn’t telling the truth, either.
Freya could see it. She knew he wanted to more than just test the boy’s power. Her eyes narrowed, her glare getting sharper and sharper…But she stopped.
This is foolish
, she sighed to herself.
She realized that trying to shut Hermes down would be a waste of time.
“All right, as you wish.”
Freya decided to acquiesce to his request but keep an even closer eye on him.
It was clear to her that Hermes meant no harm toward Bell.
Relief coursed through Hermes’s suddenly round eyes as he sank back into his chair. “You have my thanks, Lady Freya! I owe you! If you ever need something, don’t hesitate to ask! I’ll stop at nothing to—”
Freya stood up, interrupting Hermes mid-sentence.
Stopping his charm in its tracks, she put her hand on his shoulder and leaned in close.
“It would be wise to remember this: The only one allowed to play with him
Her enchanting voice filled his ears.
Time stood still. A wave of goose bumps overtook Hermes’s skin as every hair stood on end. He pulled his mouth into another smile as soon as his senses came back to him.
“Of…of course. I swear to you—”
“That’s good. Be sure you do.”
Hermes’s face glistened with sweat as Freya stood back up with her own charming smile on her lips. She gestured toward the door with one hand and gave a short nod, as if to say, “You may leave.”
Hermes cut the good-byes short and took her up on the offer. Freya watched him and his follower go out the door. Asfi had been so intimidated by Ottar’s presence that she didn’t speak a word as they left. Hermes, however, was laughing at himself, muttering, “Thought I was dead for a moment there…”
The doors shut behind them.
“Is this acceptable to you?” Ottar turned to Freya once the other two were out of the room and spoke. “Despite everything he said, things may be in motion that we cannot see. This is just my opinion, but…that god is very suspicious.”
Freya giggled softly to herself at Ottar’s straightforward warning. “I’ll deal with that when the time comes.”
She left the table at the middle of the room and walked toward a massive window.
The long, rectangular glass took up most of the wall on that side. She could see the entire nightscape of the city, her feet bathed in moonlight.
“Ishtar has been keeping a close eye on me recently. I’d like to avoid any petty inquiries…If Hermes wants to do something, that’s fine.”
Ishtar was another goddess of beauty who had attended the last
Denatus. Freya remembered their little argument as she spoke to Ottar.
As long as she knew that Hermes wasn’t going to hurt Bell, that was enough for now.
Freya took another step toward the window and looked down.
Every detail of the magnificent city sprawled out beneath her. She could see all the citizens going about their business, nothing more than grains of sand at this height. The many lights that lined the streets intermingled together like brilliant stars in the night sky.
She pulled her head back as something caught her eye.
People were gathering in Central Park.
Freya laughed to herself as she recognized the group right outside Babel’s front gate.