In the middle layer of Earth’s dungeon―――
A lone golem stands tall in the vast hall.
It’s decked out in a traditional Japanese helmet and armor, a sword strapped to its waist. It instantly reminds anyone of a warrior from the Sengoku era.
But this isn’t a human.
It’s a monster.
A Samurai-armored golem.
Its name? Rasetsu.
Crafted by Earth just about a week ago, Rasetsu was born from Earth’s armored skin and nails.
It’s the fourth golem homunculus Earth has made, after Una, Dos, and Tres.
He received that name only three days ago.
When he brought some game he caught to Earth, Earth had remarked, “Oh right, I hadn’t named you yet,” and bestowed upon him the name Rasetsu.
Getting a name?
Rasetsu was so overjoyed he felt like crying.
For a golem, being named by their master is the highest form of happiness.
A close second? Being patted on the head.
But crying in front of the magnificent creator? Unthinkable.
Rasetsu is tough.
He held it in, only to cry out loudly when he returned to the dungeon’s middle layers.
To an observer, it seemed like the armored warrior was shouting in frustration.
But that’s a trivial detail. Someone did happen to see him, trembling with fear, but that must have been a trick of the light.
By the way, why wasn’t the fourth humanoid named ‘Cuatro’ or something? Turns out Earth didn’t know Spanish numbers beyond three.
Poor Earth, he’s a bit slow, but hey, he’s only two years old.
Now that Rasetsu has a name and officially belongs to Earth, he’s become even more powerful.
At the moment…
Rasetsu is bored.
No intruders come into this layer of the dungeon. Nor do many monsters.
Over the week, the only creatures he encountered were the worm he caught to earn his name and a young girl in a white dress who begged Ann for mercy.
「No one comes… ’tis a bore.」
I have nothing to do.
There is no enemy.
It’s peaceful, which is great, but Rasetsu also feels restless.
He wants to serve his master.
To use the strength gifted to him by Earth to its fullest.To become Earth’s protective blade.
And, well, to chop some enemies to bits.
He wants to soak in their blood to quench his thirst.
But he can’t harm his fellow creatures.
Even if he wanted to spar, there’s hardly anyone who can withstand a bout with Rasetsu, made from Earth’s armored skin and nails.
Even Gonzo the rhino, or Taran, are no match.
Probably, only the leading creatures like Ann could spar with him.
But they’re all busy.
They can’t entertain Rasetsu’s whims.
It’s so dull.
He wants to slash.
But no enemies come.
「What should I do? Oh, I meant, what should one do…」
Rasetsu corrects his soliloquy.
He was taught this old-fashioned way of speaking by Earth.
“Wait, you can talk? Well, since you’re armored like a samurai, why not speak like one?” Earth had said.
Rasetsu didn’t get the reference, but he’s trying his best to adopt the style.
He’s earnest like that.
He always practices what Earth preaches.
「It’s good that it’s peaceful, but… ’tis a fact that there’s no chance to swing my blade…」
Think, think, think.
「Aha! That’s it!」
Rasetsu has an epiphany.
If adventurers don’t come to him, why not go out and hunt them?
After all, if he kills every adventurer before they enter the dungeon, there’ll be no threats to Earth.
He’ll get to use his strength too. It’s a win-win.
Ironically, this is the exact plan Una and Tres once came up with and got scolded for.
But Rasetsu is unaware. Well, he’s only a week old.
Basically an infant.
Can’t blame him.
And so, he decides to go out and hunt some adventurers.
While it seems he’s gotten his priorities a bit mixed up, that’s how Rasetsu leaves the middle layer to embark on his hunting quest.
「Alright, time to cut some adventurers! Here I come!」
The scene shifts. We’re now inside the Dungeon Fáfnir.
One of the Eight Great Dungeons.
Currently, Rasetsu occupies its tenth floor.
Of course, he isn’t naive enough to randomly attack every low-level adventurer and merchant at the entrance.
Instead, he’s devised a plan to hunt down adventurers within the busy corridors of Fáfnir’s dungeon.
At this very moment, the dungeons of Fafnir and Earth are interconnected.
By manipulating the teleportation gate, moving between these two dungeons is entirely possible.
Having reached an agreement with the tenth floor’s ruler, Rasetsu gets the chance to play the role of the floor master for just a day.
Incidentally, the regular ruler of this floor is a monster called the Jewel Goblin King—a beautiful goblin adorned with gems from head to toe.
When Rasetsu tried to pinch one of these gems out of curiosity, he was met with an overwhelming, fierce anger.
He promptly apologized.
「Now, I wonder what kind of adventurers will show up… Ah, please come… indeed.」
Anticipating a confrontation with an unknown and potentially formidable foe, Rasetsu eagerly waits for the adventurer to approach.
To kill time, he practices his moves.
He revisits the martial arts techniques taught to him by Ann.
He munches on magic stone as snacks and occasionally plays games like rock-paper-scissors and “look over there!” with the original floor master.
They even share magic stones and engage in spirited chases, laughing together.
Finally, the grand chamber doors swing open.
But for Rasetsu, it’s the perfect first prey. No complaints.
「Finally, I’ve reached you, Fafnir! I’ve been kept waiting for too long! Today, you’re going to entertain me!」
Entering is a tall man, exuding energy, with a two-handed sword decorated in gold.
He seems to have noticed the unfamiliar figure of Rasetsu and stares intently.
「…Huh? You’re not the usual floor master. You’re something new… Ah, this must be the ‘transition phase’ that woman spoke of. The cycle in which monsters are born seems to have changed.」
As the man mutters, Rasetsu’s gaze never leaves him.
This adventurer is undoubtedly strong.
Rasetsu never expected to meet someone of this caliber on his first day on duty.
Without a word, Rasetsu draws his blade.
「Ho! You seem ready. Good. I’ve been holding back on my expeditions for too long, and the stress has been building.」
The man also readies his sword.
Amidst the palpable tension, Rasetsu is the first to move, closing the gap between them with breathtaking speed.
「Whoa! So fast!」
However, the man instantly reacts, clashing swords with Rasetsu.
In a fluid movement, the adventurer deflects Rasetsu’s strike and trips him, breaking his stance.
Using the momentum of his staggering, the man swings his sword.
But Rasetsu, even from a compromised position, manages to dodge and counter.
「What the—! You can attack from that stance?!」
Rasetsu’s form seems twisted, almost unnatural—his ankles and waist bending at impossible angles.
But that’s one of the advantages of being a golem homunculus like him.
His blade just grazes the man’s cheek and ear.
Yet, the adventurer doesn’t falter and rams the hilt of his sword into Rasetsu’s side.
Using the impact’s force, Rasetsu backs away to a safer distance.
Rasetsu breathes, his tone a mix of surprise and respect.
From their brief skirmish, Rasetsu can confirm his initial assessment—this man is a formidable swordsman.
Not just skilled with the blade, but also physically agile.
He might even be on par with Ann in swordsmanship and with Dos in terms of physical ability.
It’s pure joy, delight, ecstasy!
This is it. This sensation is precisely what I’ve been searching for.
I want to kill.
He yearns to defeat this man, claiming his head, and present it to his master.
「HUUUUAAAAAAAAAAARRGHHH!!! THIS IS WHAT I YEARN, INDEED!」
Rasetsu shouts in elation.
He doesn’t forget to add a samurai-like inflection at the end of his words.
It’s just in his nature to be so genuine.
Interestingly, his opponent seems to share the same excitement.
The male adventurer flashes a broad grin.
「Haha! This is what makes dungeons so addicting! Every dive into its depths, and you encounter things that send shivers down your spine. It’s been months since I last felt this thrill! Time to relish the fight!」
The sheer thrill of battling a formidable foe.
It’s an indescribable pleasure, intoxicating in its intensity.
To this man, the thrill of the fight is the finest wine, and he’s never found another to match it.
「Come on, Floor Master. This can’t be all you’ve got, right?」
Rasetsu remains silent, merely readying his blade in response.
The brief skirmish they had was just a mere taste.
Now, they’re headed for a true duel, where magic intertwines with steel.
Magical power courses through armor and blade alike.
Their gazes lock, if only for a fleeting moment.
Just as the next exchange of blows is about to commence, a loud ringing interrupts the scene.
The ring on the adventurer’s left hand buzzes incessantly.
「What the… Now, of all times?!」
『Oi! You absolute moron of an emperor! Where the hell are you?!』
A voice bellows from the ring
A communication ring, akin to the magic stones Una and Dos possess.
A magic tool built on that very technology.
Upon hearing the voice, cold sweat forms on the man’s brow.
「Kelvin?! How did you wake up so soon? I slipped so much sleeping potion into your tea…」
『So it WAS you! How could an emperor think drugging his minister was a good idea?! I could’ve died!』
「But I just wanted to delve into the dungeon…」
『Excuses won’t help you! Get back to the castle immediately! And where are you right now?』
「Uhm… Fáfnir dungeon?」
『WHAT?! After I strictly warned you not to go diving into dungeons! Especially not now, with the Continental Congress approaching!』
All the while, Rasetsu watches the scene in disbelief.
The man’s face darkens with each passing second, each word exchanged with the voice from the ring.
What on earth is happening?
He’s wide open.
Would it be wrong to seize this opportunity to strike?
But, it doesn’t feels right to do so.
Rasetsu is not simply out for blood; he cherishes the genuine combat.
He patiently waits for the man’s conversation to end.
He’s patient like that.
Once the man finishes, he turns to Rasetsu.
A forced smile on his face.
「Sorry, something urgent came up. I need to go back. We’ll pick this up some other time. Later, Floor Master.」
And with that, the man dashes away, disappearing from sight in no time.
Rasetsu, still reeling from the abrupt departure, doesn’t even think to pursue him.
The exhilarating feeling he had moments ago is utterly deflated.
As a way to vent his frustration, he kicks a small stone nearby.
「…Hm, what’s this?」
Rasetsu finds something on the ground – an earring.
He looks to the Floor Master who simply shakes his head.
It doesn’t belong to him.
Could it be the adventurer’s?
Perhaps it fell during the earlier attack.
He decides to keep it – it looks magical, after all.
Maybe Elibel would like it.
With their designated time now over, Rasetsu thanks the Floor Master and begins his preparations to return to the middle layers of the dungeon.
「Next time, I’ll triumphantly take down a formidable foe and present the trophy to my master… ah, indeed.」
Lost in dreams of epic battles and presenting his victories to his master, Rasetsu shivers in anticipation.
Cut, cut, cut.
To battle, to triumph, and to present those victories.
To then have my master pet my head in appreciation…
「I’ll do my best, indeed. I, I mean this humble one, will work hard for you, my master!」
Reinvigorated, Rasetsu returns to his own dungeon.
By the way, later on, Ann discovers that he left the middle layers without permission. He gets a serious earful, and as a result, a spanking. But that’s a story for another time.
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