Chapter 17
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Finally, another chapter for this one. Sorry for the delay.

So, I'd just like to warn you guys that, as always, updates for this story will probably continue to be slow, like once a month or even longer.

I mean, I like writing this fic, but I think I made a mistake right from the begining. I focused too much on the MC and too little on his relationships with everyone else, I also focused too heavily on fighting. To be honest, that had been my goal, but I didn't manage to write as well as I wanted and it resulted in very little interaction for this story.

I really love that some of you guys like it enough that you're asking for more chapters, but it just doesn't get as much interest as my Supergirl story, and I don't have as much time as I like to work on my ideas. If I could, I'd write a chapter every week or even more, but it's just not possible with school and work.

I didn't actually lose interest in this fic so it will continue, slowly, but I'm busy with IRL things, and I'm also starting to get interested in exploring some other ideas I have, see if any of them has promisse, sorry for those who enjoy it.

Anyway, I hope you guys enjoy the chapter!

Grabbing at my vest, I threw my last dagger at the bottle, but he managed to pull the potion out of the way. Kicking against the ground, I rushed the tiger man, my hand grabbing the hammer at my waist. At my side, Lena attacked, rushing ahead of me to engage him first.

Unfortunately, the asshole was actually faster than us, and he backtracked as fast as he could, buying time so he could drink the potion before fighting. With practiced ease, he managed to pop the cork off with a thumb and I knew we weren’t going to make it.

Staring at him with my mangekyou, I couldn’t meet his eyes and I knew he’d be able to break any lesser illusion I sent, so I just used pain, a lot of pain. As expected, he broke out of the illusion almost instantly, but the pain made him flinch and stumble, splashing half of the potion on the floor and allowing Lena to reach him.

The amazoness pounced, her scimitar cutting at his throat, he leaned back and away from the blow, but she managed to kick the potion on his hand, shattering the bottle. With dance-like movements, she twisted in the air and cut at him again, scoring a shallow slash at his chest while he kicked her to the right and grabbed his sword once again.

I arrived immediately after, using only one hand to extend my reach, I struck with my mace towards his still extended leg. The weapon smashed him just below his knee, sending his leg back and causing him to stumble.

I capitalized on it, grabbing my hammer with both hands and delivering an upwards swing with the spike towards his chest.

Unfortunately, a combination of exhaustion, using only one hand, and him being a level two, meant that my first hit hadn’t broken any bones, only leaving a painful bruise on his leg. As his foot touched the ground, he still managed to put weight on the limb, using it to retreat once again and avoid my blow while delivering a slash at my weapon shaft, aiming right at my hand.

I saw it and managed to release my grip so the sword hit the shaft instead. With incredible reflexes, the man still managed to hook his sword on the curved spike and used his increased strength to pull me closer. I tried to resist, but I wasn’t even close to a level 2’s strength, even a newly upgraded one.

Pulled out of position, I saw the man opening his mouth, revealing impressive sharp fangs, the fucker was actually gonna try to bite my face off! Fuck, either I dropped the weapon or he’d continue to pull me closer!

With no option, I released the hammer entirely and kicked away from him, watching my weapon fly away and his fangs close down right where I was supposed to be, he’d probably have followed up on the attack, but Lena slashed at him from the side.

The first of Lena’s slashes forced him away from me, and I was satisfied to see his leg almost fail -so the hammer blow wasn’t entirely useless- the second slash was parried aside and, in the third, the adventurer started gaining the advantage, his superior strength and speed showing.

Fuck, I didn’t have any other weapon on me, all the rest of my gear was held on Yoshi’s back. In desperation, I sent another wave of pain towards the man, allowing Lena to regain the advantage, but it was clear that, even with only one arm and a wounded leg, the man was just better than her.

My first instinct was to charge the ring and catch him in a stronger illusion but, when I started doing it, the man nearly cut off Lena’s head and I had to drop my concentration to distract him with another wave of illusory pain.

Worse, my vision told me he was getting used to the damn interruptions, getting hit with such strong pain, even if only for less than a second, was still distracting, but now he was braced for it, flinching less and recovering faster, even if only a little bit.

Lena and the man’s weapons clashed again and again, the blades sending sparks flying at the speed they were hitting each other. For a brief moment, they got into a bind and I saw my chance.

Feeling fear gripping me, the sensation sending shivers down my back and a strangely weightless feeling in my belly, I charged him, aiming a punch to the man’s head. He pushed Lena away and slashed at me, but I had been expecting that, aborting the motion and stomping on his wounded leg instead.

The tiger man roared in pain, dropping to his knees for a second but still slashing down at me, I twisted aside, pivoting on my feet and striking out with an elbow to his head. The blow smashed his face, sending a fang flying, but only rattling him a little. It felt like hitting a wall, his much higher resistance showing.

For a brief moment, I thought that was it, his sword turning towards me and I just knew I wouldn’t be fast enough to dodge the slash, heck, I didn’t even have time to form a part of Susanoo to block it.

Instead of ending me, he roared in frustration and pushed himself back, rolling away and letting Lena’s weapon strike the ground, sending broken stones flying all around.

Standing beside a panting Lena, I felt my heart slowing down after the scare and almost burst out in laughter again, damn that had been close. Giving her a brief nod, I finally managed to catch a breath on the fight, immediately starting to charge the ring.

Looking at the man, I saw his wounded leg slightly lifted from the ground and his arm hanging uselessly at his side. He could still use the leg, but putting any weight on it caused him pain.

“You damn weaklings, why won’t you just die already!” As we stared each other down, the man finally met my eyes and I used my skill. “Argh, again with this damn pain skill, I’m going to…”

He didn’t get to finish, while I had also sent the pain illusion, visual contact had allowed me to cast a greater visual illusion, one backed up by the magic in the ring. Better still, the man being in the same place, even if briefly, had finally allowed Yoshi the perfect target.

I could have gone for something complicated, but I didn’t want to risk it. Instead, I just hid Yoshi’s vision, noise and scent from the man’s perception and, even as strong and alert as he was, he didn’t break the illusion in time.

The Dungeon Lizard fell on top of his head, his weight and strength empowered by several monster cores, as well as all the gear he was carrying. Even as a level two, the man couldn’t defend against that, and his wounded leg failed him, driving him to the floor with Yoshi biting down on his head.

The man released a yell of pain, but neither Lena nor I wanted to risk it, so we rushed him. Despite his wounds, he managed to throw Yoshi away and tried to get up, but Lena was there, delivering a slash to his chest that left a wide gash and must have broken several bones.

I arrived right after, grabbing his bleeding and mauled head and delivering a knee into his nose as hard as I could with all my momentum, I felt his nose breaking under my blow, and even his skull caving, his body actually went flying from the impact, falling two meters away and creating a pool of blood from Lena’s slash.

Looking for a second, I saw the man still trying to get up, but he didn’t have the strength, blood bubbling from his mouth as he couldn’t even breathe right, his nose, and most of his face, completely destroyed.

Collapsing to my knees, I crashed from the adrenaline, feeling all my limbs trembling and losing strength. At my side, Yoshi was still hissing and circling the man, but didn’t attack.

Fuck, I hadn’t even been sure he’d attack once; I had gone to a lot of trouble to teach him not to attack adventurers, so I didn’t know if he would even fight, but I had hoped when I saw him positioning himself on the ceiling.

We could have still won that fight without him… probably… maybe, but it would probably take more time, and have cost us some more wounds.

Speaking of time, I spit to the side and glanced back where we had come from. How long until someone caught up with us? Wiping my mouth with a sleeve, I got to my feet.

“Shit, let’s get out of here, fast,” I said, looking on as the adventurer tried to grab something on his chest, probably another health potion to try and save himself, before he could complete the motion, Lena finished him off by stabbing his heart. With a hand motion, I tried to calm Yoshi, but he took a few steps away from me and hissed my way. “Ah, fuck, that’s just my luck.”

Considering the mutated Dungeon Lizard, I saw it looking between me and the dead adventurer and considering things, it had attacked an adventurer and hadn’t felt the usual pain of my illusions.

Damn, would it attack me? Did I have enough in me to kill it right now? Did I ever want to? I owed it my life more than once, and it had been growing on me. Taking the time while the Lizard hissed and backed up to charge my ring, I thought about what to do.

Fucking hell, would it continue hunting adventurers now that it learned it could kill them without repercussion?

“That. Was. So. HOT!” Lena jumped into my back, causing Yoshi to flinch as she hugged me. “That last knee to the face! So brutal! Roland Synclair, ravish me!”

Reacting on instinct, I drove an elbow back and turned, ready to defend my life. Instead, I found her on the floor, clutching her belly. Crap, did I hurt her? I didn’t mean to.

“Hehe… hehe, you gave me something good in my stomach…” The amazoness said, her face flushed and her eyes turning into little hearts as her entire body trembled. “I’m definitely getting pregnant!”

This girl… Holy fuck, this girl was definitely bad news!

Shivering, I turned back to Yoshi and decided to give it one last try. If he refused to follow me, I’d leave him here. Hopefully, he’d kill a few more of those freaks and I’d ask for help from Mord or something to hunt him down another day.

Meeting his eye, I sent it a feeling of accomplishment, a feeling of approval as well as the sense that he should trust me, that we were partners. That done, I finally deactivated the mangekyou, feeling relief as the skill no longer strained my vision.

“Come on, let’s get out of here,” I breathed out, feeling tired and eager to get away before I’d have to fight again.

“Right, we’re still getting hunted,” Lena said, finally pushing herself to her feet with a smile on her face and following me towards the stairs. “What about the lizard?”

“He ate too many cores, and I’m not really feeling well enough to tame him again,” I said honestly. “Not when we don’t have the time. Hopefully, he’ll kill or at least delay some of our pursuers if he decides to stay.”

“Huh, what a pity, he was pretty neat,”

Looting a sword and grabbing my hammer back, I couldn’t find my dagger fast enough, and I didn’t want to waste any more time than necessary. With one last glance at Yoshi, all our loot still on its back, I sighed, but started climbing up.

We were almost up to the next floor when I heard something behind and turned, seeing the lizard following from a distance. “YES!” I gave a little shout, causing Lena to glance back and smile as she too saw the lizard.

“Seems like he decided to come,” She commented happily. “So, what’re you gonna do now?”

“You think they have anybody watching the exit?” I asked back, “Should we try to break through or hide in the upper floors until morning?”

“Hmmmm, I’d really like to spend the night in the dungeon, just the two of us, hehe!” Lena said, her face getting an eager look, after a second, she became serious again. “Still, the upper floors are just too small; I don’t think we can hide for too long.”

Yeah, I kind of agreed, I had no way of knowing how many were looking, or why the hell didn’t they just attack people instead of doing the monster train… unless they only had a single level 2?

Heck, were they even hunting us? I had assumed they were after me but, in hindsight, that was kind of arrogant, I didn’t think I had attracted that much attention yet, and how many had that monster train killed just to take me out?

No, odds are they were just doing it to kill everyone, not me in particular. They could be a small team of level 1’s led by a single level 2. The monster train… or, well, I guess they called it parade pass here? It could be used to wipe out a floor, and the level 2 would stay on the entrance to make sure nobody escaped.

Or, heck, I wouldn’t usually consider it a possibility, but it could be some god’s idea of fun. High level people pulling monster trains happened in video games, and the gods did come down here to have fun, I imagine it would feel like a game to them.

Together, Lena and I killed another pack of kobolds, but we didn’t stop to loot them, moving on without losing too much time. Still, monster attacks kept delaying us.

Suddenly, Yoshi turned back and hissed, causing me to pause and focus, trying to hear anything.

“Fuck… Killed… can’t…” I caught the faint sounds coming from far behind us. “… Hurt… far…”

Trading a look with Lena, the both of us immediately started running. Exhausted, wounded and lacking sleep, we weren’t as fast as we could be, and I even stumbled on some rocks.

A goblin attack forced me to pause and kill the small humanoid, allowing me to hear the steps running towards me. Fuck, there’s got to be at least four of them! I don’t think we could handle four, not right now!

Starting to breathe hard, I smashed into the ramp to another floor right behind Lena, sending a wave of pain into my shoulder. The ramp up caused both of us to slow down even more, to the point that, as we were about to enter the first hallway, I glanced back and saw the five adventurers climbing up into the floor with us.

We weren’t going to make it, as fresh as they looked; they’d catch up in only a minute or two. The realization hit me and I turned… could I get them all with Susanoo?

“Finally, you bastards are not escaping anymore?” One of the adventurers said, his voice filled with confidence. Pulling out my sword, I readied myself for a fight, there was little chance that we could kill them all, but I’d certainly take a few with me. “Really, you should have just died with the others, it would have been easier.”

Suddenly, from behind me, I felt a gust of wind that caused me to stumble forward and nearly fall, a second later; there was another gust as a blur jumped over me.

Looking ahead, I saw one of the men fly off to smash into the wall so hard his back exploded as if he was a water balloon, a second was suddenly cut at the waist, his upper body flying off while a third was crushed into paste against the ground.

Then the second blur arrived and cut a man in half and I finally saw it was a tall amazoness with a curved greatsword. The last man was grabbed by the throat and the Amazoness just held him up.

“Yo, Newbie-kun!” The first arrival said, causing me to look at Tiona, a huge smile on her face while she flicked the giant, double headed greatsword as if it didn’t weigh anything to get rid of the blood on it. “I knew you’d be alive!”

Pausing, Tiona and the new amazoness looked at each other, the taller woman lifting an eyebrow at seeing Tiona's larger weapon and how easy she had used it.

Lifting her own greatsword, the older woman nodded and then glared at Lena. "You're in trouble, you little goblin! Do you know how worried I was? I told you not to go into the dungeon alone!" Looking around a little, her smile disappeared as she didn't see anyone else with us. Dragging the man behind her as she came closer, she asked. "Where's Layla? What exactly happened?"

Finally relaxing my posture, I motioned for Yoshi to rest and, together with Lena, walked towards our rescue. Tiona seemed both faster and stronger than the newcomer, so I actually felt somewhat safe.

Damn, I hadn't realized how exhausting it has been, to have to be on constant alert while in the dungeon, and then having to be hunted. Satisfying, I won't deny that, but exhausting.

"Layla didn't make it… sorry Aisha," Lena said, throwing herself at the older woman and hugging her waist. "I-I just wanted to get to level two…"

With a sigh and a tired face, Aisha put a hand over Lena's head and consoled her.

Suddenly, I saw the captured adventurer messing with something on his chest, the motion immediately reminded me of what the level 2 adventurer had been doing and I started paying closer attention to him. A second later, I saw the bastard’s face turning into a satisfied and happy smile.

“Loria, I’m finally coming to join you,” he whispered and my eyes widened as I saw several pouches of what looked VERY suspiciously like bars of dynamite tied to his chest.

“TIONA!” I screamed while jumping away and doing my best to delay him.

The fastest illusion I could use was the pain one since it was one of the most useful, the most used and the most well made at my current level, unfortunately, it didn’t disable him completely and his hand still pulled a string on his chest, causing the charges to ignite, their wick very small.

Fortunately, it was enough for Tiona. At her level, two seconds was more than enough for her to grab the man and hurl him away as hard as she could.

The adventurer flew through the air at prodigious speeds and, only a second later, the explosion destroyed a part of the ramp down, sending a wave of hot air that hit me like a light punch, but was far enough away to not do any damage.

“Well, that was unexpected,” Aisha commented, still staring at the explosion as she combed her long hair back into place. “What the heck was that all about?”

“I… have absolutely no idea,” I commented, still feeling stunned. What the fuck? Since when were there suicide bombers in Danmachi?

For a second, all four of us stared at the destruction, and my eyes were drawn to the death adventurers, did they also have bombs?

"So, Newbie-kun, what actually happened?" Tiona shrugged and asked as she looked me over, noticing my exhaustion and all the wounds. "You look good for someone who spent almost an entire day in the dungeon."

"There was someone doing a pass parade on the seventh floor," I explained, remembering the correct term now that I wasn't running for my life. "Fuck, I barely survived. Wait, how did you know to search for me?"

"Ah, yeah, Loki kinda has some of our younger members watching your movements," Tiona revealed, scratching the back of her head in embarrassment.

"What!? Why the fuck…?" I trailed off, utterly baffled.

"Well, she wanted to know how long it would take you to find them. Plus, she thought it was funny when you acted all paranoid," the girl revealed, causing me to grind my teeth. "You know, I wasn't actually gonna come in. As a hero, you're supposed to deal with things by yourself, but then I saw Aisha entering the dungeon at night and decided to follow her, it's the mentor's job to interfere when someone too powerful gets involved after all."

Watching Tiona nodding to herself, I couldn't help cursing in my mind. Good fucking damns it! Did I waste all that money finding a new place for nothing?

Damn, usually, I'd call that reason bullshit but, with Loki, there was no way of knowing. The bitch was just crazy enough to waste everyone's time for a prank. It actually made it worse, since it made me both worried that I was being watched and annoyed that I was being pranked.

Was that why I sometimes felt someone's gaze on me while walking in Orario?

"Say, Tiona, can I kill your god? Just a little bit? Please?"

"Nope," she immediately denied. Licking a finger, she used it to wipe my face, cleaning a trail of dried blood from my eye and then helped me straighten my back. "There, now you look properly heroic. Mou, I wish I could have seen it, was it fun?"

Fuck, now that I was no longer in danger, the weight of what I had done was starting to hit me. I had killed again. More than that, I had forced two people to fight to the death.

Could they have survived if I had let them rest? If I hadn't forced them to continue fighting? Could I have fought the rest of the monsters off? There weren't so many left when I had forced them to continue fighting.

"Fun? People died, I nearly died!" I tried to yell, but the words lacked proper bite, I was too exhausted to be angry. "It was terrifying."

"Well, I mean, I don't like when people die too, it always hurts, but it doesn't make the fight any less fun," Tiona shrugged and then gave me a small hug, looking at me as if she could see through me. "I'm glad to see you can still smile, you've got to smile for those who can't, smile so it can mean something."

Was I smiling? Yes, yes I was. For a moment, I was hit with shame, I don't think I was smiling for the same reason Tiona did… then I took in her words in and shook my head. No, she was right, what use were my actions if I kept blaming myself for it?

I forced them to fight so I could live, so I could have a chance, what use was it if I kept blaming myself for it? It wouldn't erase anything. It would only make it worse, to have, maybe, caused their deaths just so I could live in misery.

"Noooo!" Lena yelled, glomping me and pulling me away from Tiona while pressing her breasts against my arm. Despite her age, they were already surprisingly big. "Roland Synclair is mine!!"

Again, my instinct was to push the girl away, but her stats were actually higher than mine, and I didn't want to use force. I'd like to say it was because she was a woman but, in truth, it was mostly because I was pretty sure she'd like it.

For a second, I saw Tiona freeze, almost mechanically, her eyes looking at the weaker Amazon pressing herself against me and then down towards her own chest.

Tiona's smile grew even wider, but it was no longer bright, and I swore there was a throbbing vein on her forehead, their eyes met and I felt my hair lifting up at the electric discharge between the both of them.

Looking down at the young girl, I met her eyes and sent her a quick illusion, my arm suddenly burst into flames and, in reflex; she released me and jumped away.

I probably shouldn't have done that, but she had already seen a lot of what I could do with my eyes and, to Aisha and Tiona, it probably looked like she just jumped away after meeting my frown.

"Hmm, how interesting!" Aisha said, putting a finger on her chin and looking at me with a glint in her eyes.

I chose to ignore the woman, no matter how incredibly hot she was. It just wasn't the time. "Ah, hey, Tiona, maybe you should lower your weapon?"

"Huh? I thought I had sensed a little frog shooter spawning." She said, tilting her head sideways in confusion. "Anyways, newbie-kun, as your master, I demand that you tell me the whole story! It wouldn't do if I didn't hear about your first heroic trial!"

"Can we just get out of here first? I really need a bath," I replied, starting to feel all the blood and grime that had accumulated.

Both newcomers barely lifted an eyebrow at Yoshi as I approached it and, meeting his eyes, used my illusions to tell it to return to his room on the third floor and wait for me.

After that, with both Aisha and Tiona, we had absolutely no trouble getting out of the dungeon. They absolutely obliterated any monster in the way until I finally stepped out of the dungeon, feeling the first rays of the sunrise hitting my eyes.

I was finally safe! Or, well, at least as safe as I could be in Orario.


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