Chapter 134: Dark Forest Floor
Translated by Zzonkedd
Edited by Gumihou
Once the red light vanished, I found myself looking at a dark and bleak room.
It was lit by some kind of magic light that emitted a faint glow. Just enough for me to see that the room was constructed by a bunch of logs tied together. I have never seen this teleportation room before, so it must belong to a floor that I have never visited.
I guess we have been sent to an entirely different place. Again.
Even so, Ramis and Hyurumi were still with me. Activating <Barrier> was the right decision. At least all three of us had been sent to the same place.
“Ramis, Hakkon… I see, we are still together… but why?” Hyurumi was kneeling on the ground, examining the still reddish-looking teleportation circle. From her clenched fists and gritted teeth, this kind of malfunction must be a blow to her confidence.
“Just what is going on?! There was clearly nothing wrong with the teleportation circle. Everyone should have been teleported to Clearflow Lake Floor. Just what is going on?!”
“Hyurumi, I may be wrong but, when the teleportation circle activated, I think I saw a red light coming from the top of Hakkon’s head…”
Ramis had been staring at me for a while now. Apparently, she had been looking at the top of my head.
Hyurumi pushed herself to her feet and scrambled up my side to climb on top of me, determined to find the cause of this issue.
“I see, so that’s what happened… They did not temper with the teleportation circles… they embedded the spell on Hakkon instead.”
I’m fine with Hyurumi sitting cross-legged on my head, but I would appreciate a more detailed explanation.
“Hyurumi, what are you talking about?”
“Oh, sorry. There’s a magic circle on Hakkon. It’s usually invisible, but it must have activated in response to the teleportation circle. I’ll remove it for now.”
I could feel Hyurumi doing something up there with her finger, I’ll leave everything to her capable hands.
Still, I never thought that the source of our trouble would actually come from me, or, to be precise, the magic circle on my head. But, just how did that magic circle end up there? Did it happen while I was asleep? It had only been a few days since Leader Keyroil betrayed us, did I accidentally fall asleep during that time?”
“It was most likely done using a special paper or magic tool with the spell embedded in it. If someone with tremendous magic like the King of the Netherworld cast that spell, the transfer could be done through touch alone.”
Through touch alone? Well, the only time someone touched the top of my head was… ah!
Back then when we failed to capture Leader and my <Barrier> was destroyed, Leader Keyroil briefly touched the top of my head during his escape. I had completely forgotten about that moment. What a perfectly executed scheme. He is quite the troublesome enemy to have.
“Well, at least we can now be assured that there will be no more weird interferences with the teleportation circle. We can all use the teleportation circle normally. However, it looks the magic circle on Hakkon’s head also sucked out all the magic from the teleportation circle we arrived at. That’s why one at the Labyrinth Floor stopped working when we arrived.”
So that was why we needed the large magic stone to boost it. I guess we won’t be able to use the teleportation circle on this floor either?
“Since I immediately deactivated the interfering magic circle, the power hasn’t been significantly drained yet. However, it would still be a few days before there’s sufficient power for us to try and teleport out of here.”
“In that case, that works out well for us, right? Since we have to resolve the issues on this floor too,” Ramis clapped her hands with her usual enthusiasm.
Tension in the air eased. That’s right, we have a job to do, so let’s start off with a good mindset.
“True. But first, let’s find out what floor we’re on.”
Ramis hefted me onto her back and approached the door with Hyurumi. Like the rest of the room, the door was also made entirely of wood. I wondered if this floor was one of those nature-rich floors.
Hyurumi grabbed the handle and slowly opened the door.
Through the gap in the door was a wall made of logs staked into the ground and nailed together with boards. Beyond that was a forest of dense trees. The sunlight was so faint here that it was like the very trees had absorbed the light, submerging the entire forest into darkness.
“This is the Seventh Floor.”
“Um, that’s the Dark Forest Floor, right?”
“That’s right. I heard that it’s quite dangerous with many plant-based monsters inhabiting this place.”
Looks like the danger level increases the deeper we go down the floors. At any rate, it looks like this floor is considerably more dangerous than the 4th Floor’s Clearflow Lake.
“The walls looked intact and undamaged at least. Maybe the village hasn’t been destroyed?”
“We can’t know anything from here, we’ll have to go and investigate it ourselves.”
“That’s true. Hakkon, please protect us.”
“Lea-ve to me”
They gently pushed open the door and stepped out together.
Within the wall made from logs were log cabins and other wooden structures. However, there were no people in sight.
Still, even though we were inside a settlement, there were quite a lot of trees growing everywhere. There were trees spouting in the middle of the road and right in front of entrances. Honestly, I can’t see them as anything but a nuisance.
“These trees looked kind of strange. Surely only an idiot would plant a tree in the middle of the road?”
“Indeed, it’s a nuisance. They even have large and small trees growing together.
Most of the trees were shorter than me and very oddly shaped. The base of the trunk is split into two with two thick branches sprout from their sides, kind of like…
“Hey, don’t you think these trees… looked kind of like people?”
Neither Ramis nor I could say anything.
We were all thinking about the same thing. Also, if we looked closely, the one large tree with the smaller trees around it looked like… a parent and a bunch of children running away while holding hands.
“I heard that there are monsters on this floor that could turn people into trees. Strong adults and hunters would only be minimally affected, at most they would experience a slight numbness. However, women, children and the elderly are in more danger.”
So that’s why most of the trees were so short. The more I look at them, the more they resemble people. The lines and depressions in the bark now looked like distorted faces filled with fear, making it difficult to look directly at them.
Normally, a silent settlement populated by trees resembling people would be quite frightening. However, with Ramis carrying me and Hyurumi catching a ride on top of my head, it did not feel quite that scary.
Come to think of it, if the monsters could only turn certain individuals into trees, what happened to the men and hunters?
If Hyurumi’s information is correct, they should still be around.
“We should search for survivors. Don’t let your guard down, Ramis, Hakkon.”
Ramis nodded silently and they cautiously advanced through the village.
Aside from the scattered, oddly placed trees, there was very minimal building damage. Evidence of a scuffle? Whatever it was, it was not violent enough to reduce even a single building to rubble.
We arrived at a place that looked like a main street and the sound of fierce battle was heard from a distance. The voices of people shouting and the clashing of wood against wood echoed in the air.
“Looks like someone’s really here! I’m going to run really hard, so hold on Hakkon, Hyurumi!”
There used to be an improved strap on my body which Hyurumi could use when she had to attach her person to me. However, now that it’s gone, I wondered just what Hyurumi planned to do. I was still wondering when I heard her scrambling about on top of me and saw her hands slapped to the sides as she flattened herself to cling more tightly to me.
If this was Ramis, her ample bosom would have been pressed against me, giving me a great sight to behold even without the sensation of being touched. However, with Hyurumi, I can’t tell whether her chest was being squashed or not.
“Did you just have an inappropriate thought, Hakkon?”
I could feel her angry eyes glaring at me. Ah, let’s try to pretend not to notice anything.
Ramis ran at full speed with Hyurumi clinging closely so that she would not be shaken off. We left a trail of dust behind as we raced through the main street, turned a corner and saw the gate.
The gate was slightly ajar and monsters were invading from there.
Giant trees with their roots twisted into something like legs, carrot-like things with extended limbs, and giant flowers with vines waving around like tentacles.
It looked like the hunters and residents of this floor were fighting desperately against these plant-monsters.
There were about 30 of them, most of them armed with axes. I guess axes would be the best weapon against plant-like creatures aside from fire that is.
The small carrot-like monsters moved through the melee quickly, toying with the hunters and spewing some kind of juice from their bodies at the opponents’ faces. Were they trying to blind them?
An axe was too unwieldy against agile opponents, so for a moment, the people’s side was held back. Then, arrows came flying from somewhere and pinned the carrot-like creatures to the ground.
“I’ll take care of the Radish Monsters!”
A cute and high-pitched voice echoed clearly through the melee. Even without visual confirmation, I already knew who it was right away.
I shifted my gaze, following the trajectory of the arrows and saw Shui standing on the roof of one of the houses. She was shooting arrow after arrow, pinning down the Radish Monsters with incredible precision.
“Please stay away from the Evil Flowers. If you catch their scent, it could cause hallucinations!”
The man urging the hunters to be cautious was also very familiar, especially the spiked iron ball. However, I could not compute just who he was at the moment because of the dignified expression on his face.
“If any of you happened to get plant juice on your shoes, please hand them over. They could contain substances that are harmful to your body.”
If you had not run your mouth like that, your act would have been perfect, Hevoy.
Should I commend him for his dedication to shoes even under such circumstances?
Still, I’m glad to see that both of you are safe.
“Let’s join them!”
“Let me get off first!”
Hyurumi hastily scrambled down as Ramis charged forward and shattered one of the moving trees with her fist.
“Oh my, it’s Ramis. Thank you for the assistance.”
“Ah, hey there, Ramis! And Hakkooooon!! I’ve been waiting and waiting for youuuu!!!”
Hevoy’s response was calm while Shui screamed from the rooftop.
I’m sure she is probably happier to see my merchandise. Warm greeting aside, the drool dripping from the corners of her mouth and her too-bright eyes were rather telling. For now, let’s focus on the battle.
“Save the explanations for later, let’s beat these monsters up now!”
“Yes, it would help us greatly if you could take down the Elder Trees, they are the giant trees there. Everyone, this woman with the magic tool on her back is our ally.”
“Oooh, I see! Thank you for your help!”
“Hey, is that the magic tool called Hakkon that Shui always talks about?”
Looks like news about me has spread to hunters on this floor.
Alright, let’s quickly take care of the current situation so that I can fulfil my true role as a vending machine.
With Ramis joining the battle, the slow but sturdy giant trees were easily crushed, and the tide of the battle quickly turned in favour of the hunters.
Once all the monsters had been driven out, Ramis used her tremendous strength to push at the gate, which had been ensnared by many vines and roots to the point that it could not be easily moved and finally closed the gate.
The surviving hunters cheered and flopped down on the ground, exhausted. However, there was one hunter who was swiftly sprinting through the group towards me.
Well, shall I prepare some food and drinks before they take a bite out of me?
[Gumihou: Lol, don’t bite our MC]
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