『Has it finally come…』
I move to the surveillance room to check out the surface dungeon’s situation.
Three entrances, excluding the Eld Desert.
The Yuguru Great Forest, the Add Mountain Range, the Guor Volcano.
What’s displayed is a massive army of monsters.
There’s quite a number of them.
Humanoids like orcs and goblins. Insects, beasts—various types of monsters are present.
I recognize some of them… like the Killer Ants and Slimes.
Even after slaying so many by human hands, there are still this many monsters.
And, I can confirm the presence of the demon tribes leading them.
By the way, the forest’s monsters have already evacuated. They shouldn’t get caught up in this… I think. Well, the place they return to might be in shambles after the battle. But that’s a worry for later.
『The figures of the captains are nowhere to be seen…』
The Demon King’s army is controlled by eight division leaders.
Of course, each one is a formidable warrior on their own.
I only know about half of them, though.
It’s old knowledge, so I’m not sure if it can be relied on.
「Maybe they’re just watching for now」
Murmurs Elibel, who’s seated next to me.
Elibel is in command.
Without magic, it’s impossible for Elibel to fight on the front lines.
『It might be. Have the others taken their positions?』
「Yes. But Tsumugin and Gonzo will need a little more time before they can emerge.」
I would have liked to be fully prepared, but we can’t afford such luxuries.
『Are there any other humans on the surface?』
「None. They’ve either fled long ago or been killed. Well, there are a few groups of adventurers inside the surface dungeon, but all you can say to them is ‘my condolences.’」
『That’s true. Well then, shall we begin?』
The defense battle begins.
The monsters surge into the surface dungeon.
With the shout of a demon wielding a hexagonal staff, countless monsters invade the dungeon.
The monsters progress through the dungeon’s branching paths without hesitation.
The surface dungeon has already been mapped out.
They head smoothly toward the lower levels.
「There are many golems, but this is no problem! Keep moving!」
The number of simple golems—drawing mannequin-types—is more than anticipated.
Have they increased their numbers to match our progress?
But, this is within our expectations.
We can push through with numbers and brute force.
The demon man commands the monsters.
「The number of golems is high, but they are no match for us! Show the power of those who have sworn loyalty to the Demon King!」
The demon man also fights, wielding his hexagonal staff.
The drawing mannequin-types fall one after another, and they continue down the dungeon.
In no time, they reach the intermediate twelfth layer.
The twelfth layer is a vast atrium.
Quite spacious, it’s nearly fifty meters deep.
「I’m sure there was supposed to be a reasonably strong golem placed here…」
According to reports, medium-sized golems should be positioned in this hall.
「Is that it…」
At the far end of the hall.
Two Buddhist-statue golems were enshrined in both corners.
「To proceed further down, we must defeat those…」
The moment they step into the hall, the two statue golems spring to life, exuding an intimidating presence like guardian Niōh statues barring the way forward.
But according to the reports, their strength is only about that of advanced-class monsters. Hardly something to be scared of.
Thinking this, the moment they prepare to attack, they are taken aback.
Before the Buddhist-statue golems lies an odd object.
A long, cylindrical thing fixed on a tripod.
Slowly, the statue-like golem reaches for the handle beside the tube.
Whose voice was that?
If there was anyone familiar around, they would have answered:
―――It’s a gattling gun.
The next instant, the sound of impact echoes throughout the hall.
『Wow, as expected, machine guns are awesome.』
The relentless sound of impact.
Hundreds of bullets being fired are mowing down the Demon King’s monsters one after another.
The walls and floor of the dungeon are being chipped away too, but that’s alright.
Based on knowledge from my previous life and created through “alchemy,” the machine gun-like device—affectionately called ‘Let’s Go Gung-ho! Gun’—that I made and Elibel improved is demonstrating its terrifying power. To be honest, it’s a weapon that had been collecting dust without a chance to debut, but now it’s finally showing off what it can do.
「Fumu… It seems it can take down low to intermediate-class monsters without any problem. Not bad.」
Elibel nods in satisfaction at the performance.
But, the combination of a statue and a machine gun is more surreal than expected…
Well, let’s leave that aside for now.
「But still, it looks like mass-producing these would be difficult. The structure is complex, the ammo costs a lot, and the firepower doesn’t go beyond that of intermediate-class.」
There are guns in this world, but they’re hardly distributed as weapons. Most are used for magical rituals, like the ones that stuttering sister used. That too is quite a special case.
Well, it can’t be helped. After all, this world doesn’t have gunpowder.
The development of magic and magic stones as industries might be to blame for this. The likes of gunpowder and steam engines are incredibly rare in this world. I thought about making some, but due to my lack of knowledge, I couldn’t manage to produce gunpowder through alchemy.
So, the firing mechanism of that thing is instead powered by a fire magic formula. Even so, the cost is ridiculously high. I have to embed magic formulas in both the gun and the bullets, and it takes an absurd amount of time to make. The cost is so high, you could make nearly ten degraded versions of a sacred sword with it.
The fuel efficiency is just too bad. Guns and magic seem to have a poor compatibility.
So, this weapon that I almost made for fun is showing results beyond expectations.
It’s reduced the number of monsters to less than half in no time.
Hm, it’s a shame. Is there no way to mass-produce it? Maybe I’ll think about it seriously after this battle ends…
「Ah, looks like the monsters are starting to counterattack.」
Just when it seemed like they could be pushed over, it appears it won’t be that easy.
Monsters with shields and those with hard shells and carapaces move to the front, starting to block the bullets.
Then, the rear monsters begin to attack the statue golems with long-range attacks.
As a result, the two statue golems begin to wear down slowly, and the moment they run out of bullets, they are swarmed by the monsters and destroyed.
The gattling gun is destroyed too… Ah.
Still, they’re strong for a scouting party.
To respond so quickly to an unfamiliar weapon.
But I wonder if they’ll be able to withstand the next trap.
「Haa… Haa… they sure made us work for it…」
The demon man catches his breath while looking down at the smashed Buddhist-statue golem.
This isn’t what I was told.
No one mentioned anything about this kind of weapon.
The performance of the golems themselves was as he had been told, but could their weapon really make such a difference?
And this is just the surface of the dungeon. Are there more like this scattered around?
He shudders anew at the terrifying nature of this dungeon.
But he can’t afford to hesitate.
The door to the lower floors opens.
He leads the remaining troops and moves forward.
From there, it’s a repeat of fighting drawing mannequin golems.
Without any particularly dangerous traps, they eliminate the occasional golems that appear and keep advancing to the lower levels.
Their progress is smooth, as if the damage from the two earlier golems was a lie.
Several hours later.
They reach the bottom layer—the middle layer of the dungeon.
「Is that it? The teleportation gate mentioned in the reports?」
A blue, glowing, complex magical circle.
It’s the entrance to the main dungeon.
「Alright, let’s move to the teleportation gate… Huh?」
Amid the tension, the demon man spots something.
It’s a notice posted on the wall behind the teleportation gate.
Curious, he reads it.
『Hey, hey, heeey. Well done, errand runners. You took your sweet time getting here, and suffered such losses—seriously incompetent, but hey, good job! I’ll give you that! Pfft, haha!
So, here’s a little advice for you hard-working incompetents.
The dungeon from here on out is even tougher, so you pathetic weaklings better turn back now. Or maybe, just send the girls home, you know?
But you’re all muscle-brained idiots and a bunch of female gorillas, so no worries, right? Ahahahaha!
Oh, if you’re going back, feel free to take the souvenir doll next to you.』
Silent, the demon man looks in the indicated direction, where a tattered demon doll lies.
In its hand, it holds a hexagonal staff—unnecessarily detailed.
With a pop, the demon man snaps.
This is the first time in his life he’s been mocked to this extent.
His shoulders tremble with barely controlled anger.
The ones waiting behind him clench their teeth, as if holding something back.
Meeting their expectations, the demon man yells.
「We’ll show these jerks who’ve mocked us what’s what—!!!!!!!!」
Without any hesitation.
They step through the teleportation gate.
To deliver judgment to the barbarians who stained their pride.
And then, they step into the middle layer of the dungeon―――
The very next moment, they were wiped out.
「Oh dear, I did warn them.」
Elibel murmurs as she looks over the annihilated Demon King’s forces.
『No, that was full-on provocation, wasn’t it…』
「So? Even if it was, it’s their fault for taking the bait. Especially right in the middle of enemy territory.」
The first room of the middle layer dungeon they teleport into is rigged with a trap crafted by Elibel herself—nicknamed the “Normies Killer.”
It’s a trap that only activates when there are both men and women in the enemy party, and this time, the enemies are numerous monsters of various genders.
Instantly, the “Normies Killer” activates, and the room is engulfed in flames.
Moreover, this time the trap is a more powerful version, let’s say a “Super Normies Killer,” a trap designed to annihilate first-timers.
And it looks like it worked—they’re all wiped out.
『The other areas are pretty much the same. Well, they did get through the layers faster than we planned.』
「That’s because the surface layer has different rules from the middle layer; its information is publicly available. Given the scale of the opposition, this is to be expected.」
『Right. But I didn’t expect the ‘spare’ golems we had in the middle layer to be so effective.』
The Senju Kannon golem—affectionately called Senju—was replaced by these Buddhist-statue golems.
Those two were some of the earliest made, essentially, the old model.
Yet, by arming them with machine guns, they managed to inflict significant damage on the enemy.
「But it seems the enemy didn’t expect to be blown up the instant they teleported.」
They fell for the trap so perfectly, probably because they were provoked.
「But the same trick won’t work twice.」
This information will likely have reached them by now.
They’ll probably come prepared next time.
But anyway, the first battle is ours.
We’ve successfully defended the dungeon, a good omen.
The next one is likely to be the real deal.
But it was surprisingly easy this time…
Maybe, if things keep going like this, we might just manage to handle it―――
「―――That’s what the enemy is probably thinking.」
Murmurs Spenta, the First Division Leader, while checking the situation.
The news of the scout team’s annihilation had already reached their ears.
「Yeah, just as Spenta predicted… Hoo…」
Vohu, the Second Division Leader, nods in agreement.
「It’s regrettable what happened to them. But it was a necessary sacrifice.」
「Yes, everything is ready now… Hoo-Hoo…」
「Yes. They’re likely feeling overconfident now. Thinking they might win easily if things continue this way. That’s why we strike immediately next.」
Vohu nods gravely and raises his right hand.
From his desiccated right hand emanates an eerie glow.
「The real battle starts now… Hoo-Hoo…」
―――Well, the usual me would probably think that way.
But I’m not about to let my guard down.
I know they’re not the kind of opponent that can be taken lightly.
「Yes, as expected, the corpses left in the dungeon have begun to turn into undead.」
The screen shows monster corpses eerily starting to move.
The undead transformation of monsters, an immortal legion that does not die.
That means Vohu has made his move.
Sending a mass of living soldiers first, then reusing them as undead after death—it’s a strategy all too characteristic of him.
『Let’s shift the strategy from phase one to phase four. Get in touch with Elja and the others.』
Elibel’s hands pause while she’s operating the terminal.
「It’s just… I never imagined I’d be commanding a dungeon side by side with you. Honestly, it feels super weird.」
That’s something you’re not supposed to say out loud!
Stop it, it hurts! My usual self, that is!
Let’s get ready for round two.
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